Hundreds join truckers' convoy to protest dangerous conditions on B.C. highways

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Local truckers drove from Surrey to Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, to bring attention to what they're calling unsafe conditions along B.C's highways this winter season. (Doug Kerr/CBC News - image credit)
Local truckers drove from Surrey to Vancouver on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022, to bring attention to what they're calling unsafe conditions along B.C's highways this winter season. (Doug Kerr/CBC News - image credit)

Hundreds of people joined a convoy led by truckers in B.C. protesting hazardous road conditions on the province's highways.

The rally, organized by the West Coast Trucking Association, made its way from Surrey to Vancouver Saturday afternoon, in hopes of bringing awareness to the icy and dangerous road conditions truckers say they've had to deal with this winter season. It is different from another rally that left Vancouver for Ottawa protesting vaccine mandates on Sunday.

Driver Jasmeet Dhaliwal says the road conditions this winter are the worst he's experienced in his six years of work.

"When we go to work ... we don't know if we're going to come back home because the highways are not being maintained as they should be," he said in an interview.

Earlier this week, several truck drivers spoke to CBC News about the conditions on B.C.'s mountain highways this year.

They said maintenance of the major highways was inconsistent, with removal of hazardous ice happening too infrequently or the de-icing products being used ineffectively.

Hardeep Dail, who's been driving for 11 years, says he has seen maintenance workers tend to the roads following an accident, but says he doesn't see them maintaining the highways on a more regular basis to try to prevent accidents from happening.

Doug Kerr/CBC News
Doug Kerr/CBC News

"We're here for everybody who shares the highway and to make everybody's life safer," said Dail.

West Coast Trucking Association told the CBC last Sunday many drivers find it difficult to know which of 28 government contractors are in charge of particular highways across the province.

It said drivers who report highway conditions on the government's DriveBC website are being told there is an influx of complaints and that they should email the maintenance contractors directly.

B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said in a statement the vast majority of road maintenance contractors have been meeting the ministry's standards. However, it said there have been instances this winter where contractors haven't operated up to those standards.

The ministry said it follows up with contractors to ensure they're meeting maintenance duties, and if they aren't, contractors are required to determine the root causes of the problem and create an action plan to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Rob Fleming said in the statement government staff have reached out to the West Coast Trucking Association to hear their concerns first-hand.

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