To the editor;
Open letter to Transportation Minister Todd Stone:
I am copying this letter to a number of people because I want something done. Are you the person to make changes?
It is time that people stop dying on our roads.
I am sick and tired of everyone blaming speed for the deaths that are occurring on our highways in the winter. I am not saying none of the accidents are caused by speed, but I am saying most of the accidents are caused by lack of maintenance on our roads.
On Thursday, Dec. 4, I drove from Agassiz to the B.C./Alberta border in Jasper.
Some of the roads were bare and dry, but a great amount of the roads were under solid ice after one week of sunny, cold weather.
In a 200-kilometre stretch of road, I saw seven vehicles in the ditch. About a foot of snow fell exactly one week prior to my going on this job.
After the snow stopped, the sun came out and was still out when I did my trip.
Anyone with half a brain would realize that:
• Leaving two inches of snow on the road means traffic will pack it down and turn it to ice, which is still there weeks later. As long as the ice is there, you have to keep socking the sand to it.
• When you are shovelling your own driveway, you don’t leave two inches of snow. You try your best to remove as much snow as possible or it would turn to ice, causing you to fall and risk breaking your neck.
• If you put your blade right down on your snowplough and clear the snow off the road, then lay some sand (nothing else is necessary when your temperatures are that cold), vehicles will chew up the last remnants of snow via the interaction between tires and sand.
• Some of your highways crews are using their men and equipment to do other jobs.
I really don’t have a problem with that, as everyone has to make a dollar. Besides, that can help pay for replacement blades. What I do have a problem with is seeing highway crews cleaning private driveways when the highways have not first been attended to.
• Choosing to allow people to die rather than putting the blade all the way down should be a crime.
Hopefully, that has given you a picture of what the roads are like.
People are dying. Children are going to bed without their parents thanks to poor road maintenance.
Don’t think I am being dramatic. This is happening. Going onto the highways in B.C. is like going to war. You don’t know if you will return.
The sad part is that it doesn’t have to be this way. We pay huge road taxes in this province. We are entitled to drive on safe roads.
Yes, we have to slow down.
Yes, we have to drive to the conditions.
We recently had freezing rain in our area, therefore, we expect the roads to be bad and we drive accordingly.
I am not a scientist, nor do I profess to being a genius but, if there has been no snow in a solid week, a person should expect the roads to be in tip-top shape.
You are the minister of transportation. You accepted that post. I am writing to you, expecting you to fix the problem.
A couple of other things I think worth mentioning:
• I wrote you an email last winter and did not receive a response. The highways are even worse this year.
• A truck driver made a very good point the other day. He said when he loses a few hours due to bad roads or incidents occurring that prevent him from doing his job in a timely manner, this costs the company money.
Therefore the economy slows down. Think about it. He was right.
I could go on and on, but I am going to just say, in closing, that I am angry.
I am extremely sad for those who have lost friends and family.
Most of all, I am disgusted to think our government is so darned lethargic about the whole issue.
Wake up, Mr. Stone.
If you would be so kind to just hit “reply” on your email so I know you have taken the time to read this letter all the way through, I would certainly appreciate it.
If you don’t hit reply, how can I know if you are a concerned politician?
Logan Lake, B.C.