Transportation and Works
December 5, 2008
Snow Means Slow When Driving In Winter
Today, the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works, officially launched the province�s annual winter-driving, awareness campaign � Snow Means Slow � in conjunction with National Safe Driving Week.
The Provincial Government is investing a record $65 million in winter maintenance this year and is in year-three of a five-year, $50 million strategy to replace old snow-clearing equipment. Minister Taylor says while new equipment should make for more efficient snow-clearing on the province�s highways, co-operation from the motoring public is necessary to make roads as safe as possible.
"We are asking for the general public�s assistance when it comes to the safety of our winter roads," said Minister Taylor. "Motorists must get into a winter-driving mindset this time of year and prepare for potential dangers, such as black ice, by reducing their speed."
Minister Taylor also took the opportunity to inspect some additions to the winter fleet, which were on display at the Department of Transportation and Works� depot on Kenmount Road.
"As part of its winter-fleet replacement strategy, the Provincial Government has purchased approximately 90 new snow plows in the past three years, which represents a major upgrade to the winter fleet," said the minister.
The Snow Means Slow campaign, which runs throughout December and into the new year, includes contact information for road conditions and encourages motorists to visit the Provincial Government website at //www.tw.gov.nl.ca/ for live camera pictures and current highway conditions in their region.
While the professionals at the Department of Transportation and Works do their utmost to address winter road conditions as quickly and efficiently as possible, Minister Taylor points out that motorists need to be responsible when they�re behind the wheel.
"Caution and common sense are essential," said Minister Taylor. "We need to drive according to conditions, which often mean driving slower than the posted speed limits. It is also very important we wear seatbelts and ensure we have suitable tires on our vehicles."
Additionally, $465,000 was earmarked this year for Road Weather Information System (RWIS) equipment and services to help monitor road conditions, such as black ice. RWIS is predominately used for winter maintenance as censors embedded in the pavement determine when the road freezes, as well as the weather conditions at the time, which allows officials to predict black ice and take a proactive approach in controlling it. In this province, there are 18 RWIS sites on the Trans Canada Highway and one in Argentia.
In another initiative to investigate methods to improve winter driving conditions, the Provincial Government is investing $1.7 million this year to introduce limited 24-hour snow clearing as part of a pilot project. This pilot project will help determine the effectiveness, necessity and long-term sustainability of 24-hour snow clearing.
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Photo: As part of the launch of the Provincial Government's annual Snow Means Slow campaign, Avalon Regional Director Don Brennan, of the Donovan's Depot, explains some of the latest snow and ice control technology to the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Transportation and Works. The vehicle pictured is one of 30 new snow-plow trucks added to the Provincial Government fleet this year to replace older equipment.
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