“As a retired highways operations employee, I’d like to explain that prior to 1988 we had a district manager in Rossland … ” begins Rubenoff Johnson.

“As a retired highways operations employee, I’d like to explain that prior to 1988 we had a district manager in Rossland … ” begins Rubenoff Johnson.

Greater Trail highway maintenance has changed over the years

Letter to the Editor from Rubenoff Johnson of Nelson

As a retired highways operations employee, I’d like to explain that prior to 1988 we had a district manager in Rossland under the direction of the regional highway engineer the late Merle Sproule.

He had road foremen and crews positioned at Rossland, Fruitvale, and Castlegar and their standing instructions were to use the assigned fleet of snow plows sanders and graders to maintain the highway system to black pavement status in winter on shifts of 24/7.

This is a salute to the onsite manager and foremen and shop personnel who kept the district operation for many years, road foremen like the late Percy Cutler would position a grader with a snow wing and ice blades along with a sand truck on the Trail Hill to ensure the road surface was scraped off and sanded to allow free flow traffic on the hill.

Having equipment and operators positioned in the three foremen’s areas, would allow instant plowing and sanding at each area at the same time, to ensure the same level of service was given and Merle made it known, that black ice and road slush was not an acceptable condition on the road surfaces

Grader operators like the late Bobby Glover, along with sand-truck operators like the late Don Zanuzzi, the Williams brothers and so many others demonstrated their skills on the Nancy Greene and Blueberry Paulson and made the art of snow removal, sanding and snow blowing look easy,

These folks took pride in keeping the road system travel safe to the best of their abilities under the direction of a regional highway engineer who set the goal of of a high standard of highways operations summer and winter and supplied the budget, training and manpower to accomplish his wishes.

We observe conditions on the area roads now that are accident-causation factors, black ice and heavy slush, and a lack of sand application because it would appear de-icer chemicals are being used to replace sand. Is this because it’s cheaper?

We need traction improvers and sand has worked for years.

We must keep the accident rates down otherwise ICBC rates will be out of reach for drivers and vehicle owners

Rubenoff Johnson

Nelson