Trent Ernst, Editor
Highway 97, currently considered a rural highway, is getting a bump in maintenance standards starting next month.
The highway is currently maintained at a Class B level, which means hills and curves that require slowing down to 60 km/hour or less need to be dealt with within an hour and a half of a snowfall event.
The new standards require these areas to be dealt with within 60 minutes.
Highway 97 is considered a critical corridor, supporting liquefied natural gas development and other industrial growth in the North. Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and MLA for Prince George-Valemount Shirley Bond says, “Increasing the maintenance levels on important northern highways will support development in the North as we continue to see traffic growth on these corridors. This is great news for the thousands of people who live and work in our region, many of whom travel frequently in some very challenging weather conditions.”
Highway 16 from Prince Rupert to Jasper will also be upgraded to a Class A highway.
Highway 97 is considered Class B from Prince George to Chetwynd. As of February, the entire northern section of the highway from Cache Creek to north of Fort St. John will be Class A.
MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie Mike Morris says, “Highway 97 North is a vital corridor for industry, and I know that commercial drivers and local users will be thrilled with this change in the highway’s maintenance classification for the Prince George to Chetwynd corridor.”
These changes represent a significant increase in the maintenance commitment for both highways, and will result in more frequent patrols and quicker response times, including snow removal and salt and sand applications.