Features & Images » Feature Story

Highway heroes keep traffic moving

Plow drivers just want a little room to maneuver

by

comment

Page 3 of 4

The impatient pass poses a significant danger for everyone involved.

"If they spin out the truck is going to pick them up with the plow and shoot them over," he says.

"That's one of the biggest problems we have, the patience.

"People don't have patience and we can't go 80 to 100 kilometres clearing the road because we have people walking down the side of the road, we have bus shelters and we just can't be shooting it (the plowed snow) 60 feet."

Gerhardt, who lives in Britannia and works in Pemberton, points out that there's a lot going on inside the trucks driven by Goochey and the rest of the people who plow Highway 99. The truck drivers operate multiple blades, material spinners that drop sand or salt off the back of the truck and the radio — all while they navigate the roads — things can get a lot more complicated for the drivers when impatient drivers are spun into the mix.

Safety is a top priority for all the drivers, as it should be for everyone sharing the road. However, that's clearly not the case, says Goochey, for those drivers that come up behind his rig and follow so close that he can't actually see the vehicle behind him in his mirrors.

"Some people get so close to you, following you, you can't even see them," he says. "I know they're back there because I can see headlight beams but I don't actually see the vehicle."

When he first started driving a plow it frustrated him but now he says there's nothing he can do about tailgaters so he doesn't let it bother him.

Three o'clock in the afternoon is a key time for Gerhardt's crew working D1. When the skiers and boarders come off the mountain on a busy day he says a mad rush begins.

"We try to make sure we don't group the trucks up at those times, so that if we do run into a traffic problem our trucks aren't caught in the traffic," he says.

Asked if it would be better if people just stayed off the road when the snow is falling sideways and every resource Mainroad has is on the road but Ullr is still winning Goochey's reply is surprising. When the weather is at its worst he wouldn't discourage drivers from heading out.

Just the opposite is true in fact, as vehicle traffic plays a key role in helping to keep the highway clear by agitating the salt and sand and helping those materials do their job — at least when the drivers are considerate of other cars and the plows — which is most of the time.

Add a comment