Avalanche safety efforts on B.C. highways get solid marks from auditor general

·1 min read

VICTORIA — A report by British Columbia's auditor general says the province is effectively managing its highway avalanche safety program, but improvements can still be made.

Michael Pickup says in a statement the audit found avalanche deaths on B.C. highways are rare events and road closures due to avalanches are declining.

He says the audit looked at the Transportation Ministry's management of highway safety and the efforts to keep avalanche-related road closures to a minimum.

Pickup says there haven't been any avalanche-related deaths on B.C. highways in more than 20 years and avalanche events are now down to about three per year from a high of 42 in 1982.

He says the ministry has mapped 1,600 avalanche paths, but it's not known when or if two-thirds of those map paths were last updated.

Pickup says the ministry has accepted the audit's eight recommendations to improve highway user safety and reliability.

The audit says the ministry provides timely avalanche forecasts to highway users, maintenance contractors and emergency services.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 27, 2021.

The Canadian Press