Over the holiday break and into the New Year, sections of the Interior B.C. got pounded with snow. While the ski hills rejoiced, the hard-working folks at Dawson Road Maintenance prepared for avalanche season.
Blaine Turner was flying in a helicopter with a few avalanche technicians, checking out the mountain ranges that lined Highway 99, Road 40, Highway 12 and the Highline Road near Lillooet.
“There were several large systems with lots of snow in the area. Then when it warmed up, it created ideal conditions for avalanches. The terrain is also quite steep there, so it was a perfect situation for avalanches to take place,” said Turner, a superintendent who has been with Dawson for 25 years.
Working in constant communication with avalanche techs and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MoTI), Turner helped facilitate the closing of the highways last week in order to keep the public safe.
Shortly after the closure of the road, the avalanches naturally began falling down the mountain.
“With those conditions, you have to be proactive and shut things down before the situation gets out of control. The danger was at the highest level and if the road remained open, there could have been some serious consequences,” said Turner.
In total, there were more than 160 avalanches sprayed across the Lillooet and Gold Bridge area, and when MoTI deemed the site was safe to proceed, the team at Dawson Road Maintenance stepped up to clear the way.
Diligently and efficiently, two loaders, a grader, bulldozer and a plow truck cleared snow while being under the watchful eyes of spotters and supervisors. The highway was open less than a day after the cleanup began.
“I’m really proud of the way our team safely worked and cleaned up all that snow. We have a courageous bunch working with us and they all rose to the occasion,” said Turner. “Our partners on this project were also great.”
Weather systems are predictably unpredictable in the guaranteed rugged Lillooet area, especially during the winter. The cooperation and execution on projects, with teams such as MoTI and Dawson Road Maintenance, help keep the province a safe place to travel for everyone.