Ucluelet mayor says Highway 4 maintenance has changed for the worse

Ucluelet mayor says Highway 4 maintenance has changed for the worse

WATCH: Just days after a fatal crash on Highway 4, Ucluelet’s mayor is sounding the alarm about road conditions. He says the highway has become more slippery ever since a new maintenance contractor took over. Kendall Hanson reports.

A car was under a tarp in a Qualicum Beach tow truck yard on Friday as it awaits a mechanical inspection. The car went off Highway 4 Wednesday night. A 28-year-old man died in the crash.

Police say they’re investigating all possible factors, but say there were indications the highway was icy when the accident happened.

Ucluelet’s mayor says there has been a distinct change in the maintenance on Highway 4 this winter. In September, Mainroad Group took over the contract for maintaining the road.

“There has been a lot of accidents,” said Mayco Noel, Ucluelet’s mayor.

“Even last week driving out of town it was horrific. [I was] just driving out of town at 11 in the morning like this everyone’s going sideways. There’s cars in the ditches and flipped over.”

Noel says, fortunately, most driver’s have been able to walk away from the accidents but he believes the way Mainroad is maintaining the highway is to blame for the rash of crashes.

He says the company relies on brine too much for keeping the highway clear.

“Which has worked very well in a lot of their jurisdictions but there’s been a very low success rate in our area,” said Noel. “The salt and brine program is not working and we keep hoping that they’re going to acknowledge it’s not working and they need to get back to abrasive measures of sand and salt.”

Mainroad says their highway maintenance program is just as good if not better than what was in place before.

“When we’re producing salt brine it’s just another proactive approach to snow and ice control,” said Dale Martin, a Mainroad Operations Manager. “We are meeting the standards as per BC Transportation Ministry.”

The Transportation Ministry says the new maintenance contract for the area requires even higher standards and a more proactive approach when a winter weather event occurs.

Mainroad says part of the problem has been how snow has fallen in such a short time. The company also says Highway 4 wasn’t icy Wednesday night. It says, as far as it was aware, it was bare and wet when the fatal crash occurred.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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