The Dawson Group, the new road and bridge maintenance contractor in this area, has been buying new equipment for its work here and in other areas where it has maintenance contracts. (Dawson Group photo)

The Dawson Group, the new road and bridge maintenance contractor in this area, has been buying new equipment for its work here and in other areas where it has maintenance contracts. (Dawson Group photo)

Business as usual for new road maintenance company

But faster snow clearing now required

The company now in charge of road and bridge maintenance on provincial roads in the Houston area is promising a seamless transition from the previous company.

It’ll be mostly business as usual, says Robert Koopmans from the Dawson Group, the Kamloops-based company which took over Oct. 1 from Billabong Road and Bridge Maintenance.

Billabong had the maintenance contract since 2004 but lost out to the Dawson Group in a bid for a new 10-year contract with the provincial government.

Former Billabong employees belonging to the International Union of Operating Engineers automatically slide over to the Dawson Group.

“Of course, no one has to come work for us if they don’t want to,” said Koopmans in adding there are some senior management changes.

He said the Dawson Group negotiated leases at some locations used by Billabong and found other locations when needed.

“As for equipment, what I can tell you is we have spent millions on new equipment,” Koopmans added of the company’s four operating areas — one in the northeast and two in the south and central Cariboo as well as here.

Personnel and equipment will continue to be sent to the Houston area from a yard in Smithers and Dawson will also maintain yards in the Hazeltons and at Carnaby, west of the Hazeltons, and a re-fueling and storage site at Meziadin.

And it will be re-opening a yard Billabong once had in Stewart at the far western end of Dawson’s road responsibilities.

“Given what we all know about the snow there, it seemed the most appropriate measure,” said Koopmans of the winter conditions in and around Stewart.

Although the shift will be seamless, Koopmans said motorists will notice a change in road clearing during the winter because of new standards being written into every maintenance contract in the province.

These include:

— increased communication with the public concerning rapidly changing road conditions during severe weather events and other incidents affecting travel on B.C. roads.

— returning Winter Class A highways to bare pavement within 24 hours of a winter weather event ending at pavement temperatures of -9 C or warmer, when de-icing chemical use is safe and effective. The previous standard was 48 hours.

— increasing patrol frequency to 90 minutes on a Class A highway during a winter storm. When a weather event is forecasted to occur, increase the patrol frequency to four hours. The previous standard was 24 hours.

Under the new agreements being signed, a contractor is also required to be more proactive prior to a winter weather event occurring and to spread anti-icing chemicals prior to the weather event.

Koopmans also said vehicles now have GPS tracking equipment installed to better provide the company and the province exact information as to where and when they are operating.

“We think this will increase efficiency so that they can be operated in the best possible way,” he said of Dawson’s equipment.

Dawson has had the road and bridge maintenance contracts in the south and central Cariboo for years, and made its first venture north when it took over a northeastern B.C. contract this spring.

The dollar value of the contract here, as well as for every other maintenance contract in the province, will be released once negotiations for all of them have concluded.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“Skeena,” by John Hudson and Paul Hanslow is one of five fonts in the running to become the default for Microsoft systems and Office programs. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Font named after Skeena River could become the next Microsoft default

One of the five new fonts will replace Calibri, which has been Microsoft’s default since 2007

Accessibility improvements and more classrooms at the Houston Christian School should be completed by the new school year. (Houston Today photo)
Accessibility improvements coming to Houston Christian School

Construction package includes two classrooms

The soft opening of the nature centre at the Buck Creek CANFOR hatchery took place mid-April. (Angelique Houlihan photo/Houston Today)
Houston hatchery and nature centre’s upcoming events

The conservation group to host summer students this year

Council wants a say in the expansion of long term care services in Smithers. Pictured here is the Bulkley Lodge facility in that community. (Google photo)
Long term care remains on council priority list

Wants to be involved in expansion plans in Smithers

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read