Trans Canada Highway.

Trans Canada Highway.

Politicians discuss upgrades to Trans Canada

MLA and his Liberal rival are at odds again this week over the Trans-Canada Highway between Revelstoke and the Alberta border.

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald and his Liberal rival Doug Clovechok are at odds again this week – this time over the province’s attention to the Trans-Canada Highway between Revelstoke and the Alberta border.

The issue arose from a meeting facilitated by Mr. Clovechok in Victoria on Tuesday, February 17th. He was joined by Attorney General Suzanne Anton, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone, Shuswap MLA Greg Kyllo, Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett, and Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee.

Mr. Macdonald’s office holds that the meeting was a dog and pony show.

“Mr. Clovechok may want to take credit for setting up a meeting between the Mayor Revelstoke and the Transportation Minister, but there really isn’t anything to take credit for,” Mr. Macdonald said. “All the meetings that have taken place between mayors and ministers for the last decade have come to nothing because there is no money in the budget for significant upgrades to the Trans Canada near either Revelstoke or Golden.”

Despite their disagreements on the meeting, both sides agreed that ideally, the highway should be four lanes wide throughout the Roger’s Pass stretch.

Although twinning (doubling the lanes) on the Trans Canada highway was discussed at last week’s meeting, the bulk of discussion was on more short-term solutions, given the resources available.

“The ultimate fix is the twinning of the TransCanada Highway – everybody recognizes that, and everybody is working towards that happenings,” Mr. McKee said.

As a result of the meeting, the Ministry of Transportation will be reviewing a list of recommendations that were agreed upon, “to have a common sense approach to managing the highway to reduce closures and the length of closures,” Mr. McKee said.

Mr. Clovechok said that the issue will require a multi-faceted solution.

“On one of the snowiest passes in Canada, you’re bound to have closures,” he said. “But there are many things that can be done.”

Depending on the circumstance of a vehicle collision, many levels of bureaucracy are often needed to respond, Mr. Clovechok said, which extends the length of some delays. And as the Attorney General, Ms. Anton was the ideal person to hear their concern of overlap, he said.

Other practical solutions that came from the meeting included better warning methods in high-collision areas; electronic signs that can be updated to address current conditions; and heavier enforcement against big trucks.