Highway 16 in northwestern BC to be better maintained during winter

Decision reflects increased industrial traffic, says the provincial government

THE entire length of Hwy16 through northern BC is to be better maintained during the winter, says the provincial government.

In a release this morning, the province says increasing the maintenance standard for Hwy16 as well as for Hwy97 is needed because of increased traffic due to liquefied natural gas development and other industrial development.

It means there will be quicker response times during snowfalls and other weather events and not as much snow will be allowed to build up before it is removed.

Hwy16 had been classified as a Category B highway, increasing to Category A only when its route takes it through municipalities.

The change makes the entire highway from the coast to the B.C. border classified as Category A.

There have also been calls for increasing maintenance standards because of a high number of accident fatalities along Hwy16 since the beginning of the year.

While this morning’s press release speaks about increased industrial traffic, it did not directly address the number of accident fatalities.

John Rustad, the Liberal MLA for Nechako Lakes, which includes Vanderhoof, called the announcement welcome news.

“These changes will not only make travel safer and more efficient, they will have significant, positive spin-off effects for British Columbians throughout the North,” said Rustad who is also the aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister.