Driver safety critical around plows

Motorists are urged to be cautious around heavy equipment plowing local roads and highways

Motorists are urged to be cautious around heavy equipment plowing local roads and highways.

Significant snowfall Monday and Tuesday highlighted the need for vehicles to be careful when coming upon graders and sand trucks.

“Don’t pass the plow,” said Rick Kovacvich, operations manager with Argo Road Maintenance.

“It’s safer to stay behind the plow because they are clearing the snow for you and they will pull over  when possible.”

The primary concern is motorists passing plows on the right because that’s the side that snow is pushed out from.

“It blasts right through their vehicle,” said Kovacvich.

“That can do a lot of damage to a vehicle.”

Eight to 15 centimetres of snow blanketed the North Okanagan Monday and there was a similar amount Tuesday.

Back-to-back storms created some challenges.

“It’s been hectic but fortunately our equipment was holding up,” said Kovacvich.

The primary focus for clearing snow were the highways followed by school bus routes.

Secondary roads in the rural areas are currently being addressed.

Many of the problems were on the Trans-Canada Highway between Sorrento and Sicamous.

“Transport trucks were stuck. They weren’t chaining up,” said Kovacvich.

With the snowfall stopped and the temperature expected to drop to -10 today and Saturday, Argo’s crews are focused on the piles of snow and slush.

“We want to get it off the roads and we hope they will dry off before the weather cools off,” said Kovacvich.

Kovacvich admits that some side roads will need considerable attention because of four-foot snow banks.

“They are closed in pretty good,” he said.

Argo Road Maintenance is responsible for 4,700-lane kilometers in the North Okanagan-Shuswap.