Highways and school bus routes No. 1 priority: North Okanagan road contractor

Highways and school bus routes No. 1 priority: North Okanagan road contractor

Crews ready to tackle snow storm set for region

A flurry of snow plow complaints are being defended as crews do their best to keep area roads and highways safe.

AIM Roads is on the receiving end of some upset after a school bus got stuck trying to get kids to class in Cherryville on Friday, Dec. 13.

“The bus was on a school bus route and moved over slightly to let a logging truck pass,” said Greg Ehman, contract manager for the North and South Okanagan, which AIM took over in April.

Due to the road not being plowed, the bus got stuck, and parents were called to pick up their children.

“There was no danger to the students but students couldn’t get out,” Ehman said.

But that’s not what Lee Laviolette saw.

The Cherryville resident said a logging truck tried to pull the bus out only to put it further in the ditch.

“When he pulled on the bus it was still loaded with kids and the bus had a lean to it. When the chain snapped the bus came back down. I thought it was going to go over,” Laviolette said.

AIM defends that a heavy snowfall had occurred and crews who were dealing with some mechanical breakdowns had not yet reached that particular school bus route. But Ehman said the priority, following highways, is to always have school bus routes cleared first.

“We have a crew working at 5 in the morning and they are dedicated to the school routes,” Ehman said, adding that crews run 24-hours a day.

AIM has more than 100 pieces of equipment between the North and South Okanagan areas. In the North, crews look after areas south of Perry River on Highway 1 all the way down to the Monte Lake interchange, including Celista and then just over the Monashee and south to Crystal Waters Road.

AIM took over the contract from JPW in April, but inherited all of the employees and retained some of the management team.

“Our management team collectively has more than 120 years in highways maintenance,” Ehman said.

“Our crews live in the communities, they’re great crews and they take great pride in what they do.”

With that in mind, AIM is ready to tackle the next system moving in.

“We’re well prepared,” said Ehman, adding that additional resources have been called in.

Despite some concerns in Cherryville, other areas are applauding the work of AIM.

“Overall, we’ve done an exceptional job in a lot of things,” Ehman said.

Meanwhile, motorists are urged to take caution in all areas, but particularly in the Shuswap.

“The Shuswap-Sicamous-Salmon Arm area have been the hardest hit,” Ehman said.

READ MORE: Travellers beware: Lots of snow coming for Okanagan exits

READ MORE: Trucker trapped in semi for six hours after Highway 1 collision near Sicamous


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