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Improving Winter Highway Maintenance

Archived Backgrounder

Improving Winter Highway Maintenance

Ministry of Transportation

Ontario roads consistently rank among the safest in North America. The province is committed to road safety and ensuring appropriate winter highway maintenance standards are met. 

In April 2015, the ministry issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for a new Kenora area highway maintenance contract. Issuing a RFP provided an opportunity to make some enhancements to the maintenance contract, including clarifying performance requirements and being more prescriptive about winter equipment levels, winter materials and winter road patrolling.

Some key changes to the new Kenora-area highway maintenance contract include:

  • An enhanced process for determining the length of each plow's route and the equipment levels needed to maintain all the highways
  • Identifying expected annual quantities of salt and sand to be used to maintain the highways and requiring a reimbursement to the ministry if salt/sand used is less than 80 per cent of the historic average
  • Specifying an annual quantity for anti-icing liquid and the application requirements
  • A requirement for minimum road patrolling frequencies consistent with the ministry's best practices. The contractor is also required to increase frequency as necessary, including when road and weather conditions worsen
  • A revised requirement for more winter equipment availability during the fall and spring transition periods outside of the winter season.

The contract was awarded based on both the proposal's score and price.

Emcon Services Inc.

Emcon Services Inc. has been selected as the new service provider for the Kenora area and will begin operations on Sept. 1, 2015.

Emcon Services is a company that specializes in highway maintenance, paving, bridge construction, and equipment hauling throughout Western Canada. The company currently provides maintenance services for five of 28 contract areas in British Columbia and has been operating for the past 27 years.

In addition to improvements in the new contract, the company will use new and innovative equipment including equipping some patroller trucks with anti-icing liquid tanks and some new underbody plows that can better remove compacted snow and ice, restoring bare pavement faster.

The new maintenance contract covers summer and winter maintenance services, and minor repair work for 1,624 kilometres of highways in the Kenora area. The contract also includes the maintenance of 950 kilometres of roads in unincorporated areas for Local Road Boards.

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