GOOGLE IMAGES                                The intersection of Highway 19 and Campbell Way in Port McNeill.

GOOGLE IMAGES The intersection of Highway 19 and Campbell Way in Port McNeill.

North Island to get new highway maintenance contractor

Ministry provides update on North Island projects and services

The North Island will see a change in highway maintenance contractor this fall. As of Sept. 1, the highway maintenance company Mainroad will take over operations from the current contractor, Emcon Services.

Alycia Trass, Manager of Operations for the Ministry of Transportation, attended the June 19 Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) board meeting, to provide an update from the Ministry regarding North Island projects and services.

During her delegation, Traas announced that after 15 years as the highway maintenance contractor for the region, Emcon Services contract will come to an end Aug. 31.

“Over the last seven months we have been through a rigorous procurement process for the new contract which starts Sept. 1 and Emcon, unfortunately, was unsuccessful in securing the new contract,” said Traas, adding that Mainroad was the lead proponent for the new contract.

“We are working through our final due diligence with them at the moment but we can say it’s Mainroad,” said Traas.

She also explained that the only jobs impacted will be superintendent positions and above.

“Most of the employees are union members and the union group moves with the new company that comes in,” said Traas, adding “The people you see on the ground will still be the people you know, so they will know the local issues and concerns.”

Traas said a new phone number will be distributed a few weeks prior to the contract date switching, and until Aug. 31 Emcon is expected to deliver all their services as usual.

Mainroad’s contract will be in place for 10 years, with an option to extend an additional five years, which will be determined sometime in the 10th year.

Traas also noted three capital projects set to happen in the region.

The first project Traas noted was the “Sayward passing lanes” project which are to be built south of Roberts Lake Rest Area.

“Full designs are complete right now, construction is going to hit the ground probably in early September, and we will see completion the following summer,” said Traas, explaining that one passing lane will be built southbound, with an additional passing lane built on the opposite side, depending on budget.

The second project noted is the Campbell Way and Highway 19 intersection in Port McNeill. “Full design is complete and we are preparing the tender package and plan to construct in August/September with completion being end of September,” said Traas.

After being asked to elaborate on the scope of the project by RDMW Chair Andrew Hory, Traas explained, “the objective of that project was to improve safety and sight lines.”

She said after investigation it was determined that vehicles heading southbound in the southbound turn lane lost sight of the northbound vehicle which poses a risk of collision.

“We are lifting the road up to get rid of a dip to increase those sight lines,” said Traas, adding “What that involves is new pavement going from a kilometre back all the way through the intersection.”

Traas said there will be single alternating traffic during the construction, but she does not anticipate a road closure.

The third capital project noted was the resurfacing of Beaver Cove Raod. The project is still in the investigation stages, but Traas said it is expected to begin sometime in the Aug. to Sep. timeframe.

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