Columbia Valley Pioneer staff

Mainroad East Kootenay has a lot of work ahead in 2024.

This work was highlighted in a recent presentation to the Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) by Mainroad general manager Teagan Burton.

The presentation outlined the company’s Service Area 11, which includes 3,600 kilometres of maintained roads, 570 kilometres of numbered highways, 11 rest areas, 100 bridges, and 40 retaining walls.

With a staff of more than 75 employees, Burton said Mainroad likes to get involved in the community. For example, she cited the company’s Ktunaxa Hunting Camp where at-risk youth learn traditional hunting ways. “We provide them road kill to bait their traps,” Burton said, adding the company also purchases wall tents for the camp.

Another program that Burton highlighted was Project Heavy Duty, where Mainroad partners with WorkBC to give high school students hands-on experience operating heavy equipment; the company offers its crane truck for training purposes.

Burton informed the RDEK about upcoming Mainroad projects, including 8,500 metric tons of sideroad paving, side road crack sealing, and 20,000 litres of side road spray patching. She also outlined a few Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure projects, such as resurfacing, upgrading the Akisq’nuk First Nation intersection, rest areas on Highway 93/95, and the big horn sheep overpass near Radium.

During question period, Mayor of Elkford Steve Fairbairn asked what is being done about the “poor” highway conditions on Highway 43 that have resulted in people (motorists) “dying.” Burton said they can set up a meeting with public works to discuss the concern, noting that Mainroad follows the highest standard of highway maintenance at the moment.

Area F director Susan Clovechok noted that she receives phone calls from people asking why certain roads haven’t been cleared of snow. She then asked if Mainroad has a mapping classification to address this issue. Burton said they will check into that. 

RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay asked how can citizens bring forward projects or concerns about wildlife issues and “blind areas” on highways. 

Burton said they can schedule a meeting on site to discuss these issues.