Foreman Darryl Slater worked 12 hours and made many passes on the Malahat during the Feb. 11 snow storm. (Swikar Oli/News Staff)

WATCH: Behind the scenes of Mainroad’s plowing operation

Operations manager Chris Cowley sheds light on the company that has taken care of ministry roads for 15 years

The drivers in the mighty yellow snow plows you may have encountered recently on provincial roads don’t just sit around the rest of the year.

Mainroad South Island Contracting LP maintains year-round 3,615 kilometres of roadway on southern Vancouver Island, from Chemainus down to Greater Victoria, including Port Renfrew, Lake Cowichan, Sooke and all roads on the six Southern Gulf Islands.

It’s the company the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure calls to fill potholes, clear vegetation, maintain signs and barriers, and remove everything from graffiti to roadside litter. They ensure surface reflectors stay reflective and pilings supporting bridging are bearing their share of the load. And when the snow begins piling on the Malahat, Mainroad’s trucks are the ones outside plowing, during all hours, and sometimes for up to 12-hour shifts.

RELATED: Mainroad crews cleaning up after winter

Since its founding in 1988, Mainroad Group’s road maintenance jobs extend out of 17 operating companies: nine maintenance, six contracting and two product companies. Operations manager Chris Cowley notes they handle “all Gulf Islands, all municipal highways and any non-municipal roads.”

Mainroad is now on the 15th year of its contract. “Once you have one in, you’re in for a little while,” he says with a slight smile. His plan is to be around for a “little while” longer.

By the time snow blanketed Southern Vancouver Island, Mainroad had already prepared by laying down some groundwork, literally. The team checked weather reports and, when there was snow warnings, took them seriously.

Cowley says Mainroad started repair work on their trucks in October. He provides the province with their winter plan, with “evidence their trucks were ready.” They trained their staff and stocked up on sand and salt. Whenever snow is forecasted, they send out patrols to look for icy spots and “pre-treat” civil roads with a salt brine solution to keep the salt from sticking.

“It’s what we do,” Cowley adds.

The now-historic levels of snowfall Greater Victoria accumulated in February are the kinds of storms that are becoming more common, Cowley says. Preparation, accordingly, has ramped up.

“Climate change — it’s eating us up,” he adds.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

Fate of accused in Saanich couple’s 1987 killings in jury’s hands

William Talbott’s lawyer says DNA doesn’t prove murder

Brentwood Bay fruit stand plundered on first day of season

Leeanne and Jack Guthrie dismayed to find money and fruit stolen from roadside stand

Victoria woman accesses healing Burn Fund resources 45 years after injury

Stasi Manser was burned when she was five years old and now works as an adult burn survivor advocate

Island Health issues safer drug-use tips ahead of music festival season

Health authority aims to reduce overdose risks at festivals

VIDEO: Killer whale steals fisherman’s catch off North Coast

Fishing duel results in eager orca snagging salmon in Prince Rupert

POLL: Do you think the penalty should be increased for tossing a burning cigarette from a vehicle?

With grasslands and forests around Vancouver Island and across B.C. reaching tinder… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

PHOTOS: North Island home gutted in fire deemed ‘suspicious’

No injuries reported; firefighters prevented blaze from spreading

Child killed after being hit in driveway on Vancouver Island

The driver of the vehicle remained at the crash scene and is fully cooperating

Eating sandwiches, putting on makeup behind the wheel could land you a fine

RCMP say if you cause an accident while eating you could be penalized

Cat badly hurt in animal trap was likely stuck for days, B.C. owner says

Blu, a three-year-old house cat, suffered severe damage to his hind leg after being stuck in trap for days

Vancouver Island woman assaulted after confronting thief

RCMP warn residents to call for police assistance

40 cats surrendered in apparent hoarding at B.C. home

Officers found the cats living among piles of garbage and feces, suffering from fleas

Most Read