Winter highway maintenance is underway for Mainroad Alberta Contracting serving Central Alberta communities. Anthony Yates, VP, Business Development recaps the importance of public feedback, snow plow priorities, and new resources this winter season.

Mainroad began its contract with the Ministry of Transportation in August, 2019. Under this contract, the company oversees 4,600 kilometres of provincial highways surrounding the communities of Red Deer, Innisfail, Lacombe, Ponoka, Rimbey, and Wetaskiwin, known as Areas 515 and 516.

“Public feedback is really important to us because our contract with the Province of Alberta is about continual improvement. This feedback really helps us review our operational delivery against our contract requirements,” notes Mr. Yates. “Under our contract with the Province, the central highway network is prioritized based on traffic volumes and function, as such there will be highways that are plowed less frequently than others to ensure we provide the required service levels. If a storm is particularly fierce, our crews must do several passes on these priority roads before turning to other roads.”

This is a new form of contract that is based on performance and is a very different contract than what has been seen in Alberta for the past 30 years. Mainroad Alberta Contracting has an aggressive plan for winter maintenance that follows the highway classifications set by Alberta Transportation*.

This winter, Mainroad is adding additional operators in all its yards – Ponoka, Red Deer, Winfield, and Innisfail to ensure more trucks are plowing in a 24-hour period to provide the best service to the travelling public around the clock. That is over and above the 70 personnel hired at the start of the contract. As for material usage during the 2020/21 winter season, Mainroad estimates it will use 17,000 tonnes of salt, 50,000 tonnes of sand, and three (3) million litres of liquid anti-icing brine to maintain provincial highways in Central Alberta.

“Our crews live and work in the communities they serve – your winter is our winter, and all driver safety is a priority,” say Yates. “We encourage the public to pay attention to 511 Alberta and local radio stations for up-to-date weather and road conditions to help them plan their day”.

Mainroad Alberta also posts major updates on its Twitter page, @MainroadAlberta and encourages the public to call its 24-hour public information hotline to report any hazardous conditions.

*For information about provincial highways, please contact the Ministry of Alberta (Alberta Transportation)