Winter conditions have finally arrived in the Central Okanagan, with the first major snowfall having arrived Sunday night.
Snow and freezing temperatures then made for a chaotic Monday morning, with major delays along Highway 97 in West Kelowna.
While AIM Roads is the company contracted to clear Highway 97 and Westside Road, the company declined an interview regarding the road conditions and forwarded the interview request to the Ministry of Transportation.
The Ministry of Transportation said in an email, “During the recent snow event, the ministry found, in most areas, the contractor was meeting requirements. However, it was noted specifically in the West Kelowna area that they did not meet the ministry’s standards.
“When a contractor does not meet the ministry’s performance expectations, the contractor is required to determine the root causes and create an action plan to ensure it does not occur again.
“Ministry staff are working closely with the contractor to ensure concrete actions are taken and the contractor is able to meet contract specifications in all areas going forward.”
Okanagan residents weren’t the only ones severely impacted by the slippery road conditions. Kelowna Cabs felt the effects of the traffic jam as well.
“The Westbank traffic from the bridge backed up down to Bartley Road pretty much,” said Roy Paulson, a Kelowna cab driver.
“It’s kind of hectic for us, too, because many times we’ve picked up people downtown that have to go out to West Kelowna and coming back is a chore. We’ll sit there for quite some time.”
The City of West Kelowna is responsible for clearing most roads in the community. Officials are asking residents to be patient and help city crews where possible.
Officials say residents should:
- Park off-street up to 48 hours after a snowfall ends
- Do not shovel snow from driveways and sidewalks back onto streets
- Keep storm drains clear
- Remove snow and ice from sidewalks bordering properties
Residents won’t have to wait long to potentially do their part. More snow is in the forecast for Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday this week.