The drive to Warfield, Rossland and beyond could become a bit longer for motorists choosing to turn off Highway 3B onto the Warfield Hill Road.
The City of Trail inherited ownership of the secondary highway, also called Bingay Road, after the province ended a cost-sharing program for annual maintenance and capital projects in 1999.
After several washouts from heavy rainstorms, and heavy usage estimated to be 2,000 vehicles each day, the city is on the hook to pay some pricey repairs.
Trail council tackled the matter during this week’s governance meeting following the roadway’s report by city engineer John Howes, which includes a 30-year capital plan of $4.8 million for a complete rebuild.
“Full depth reclamation is the recommended approach for rebuilding the road,” Howes wrote.
Reusing the existing asphalt milling and road base would be cost efficient, he explained, noting that allows for reshaping the road cross-section to improve drainage and mitigate risk of slope failures on the north side of the road.
Bingay Road maintenance and upgrades have ranged from $40,000 to $100,000 annually since 2000.
The city’s cost to maintain the road which is used by industrial trucks about 25 per cent of the time and non-city residents from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to Howes’ report.
While the matter was deferred to later 2015 capital budget discussion, meeting chair Coun. Sandy Santori, asked staff what steps would be required to close the road to the public only.
“In this case, it’s not an actual road right-of-way,” explained Michelle McIsaac, Trail’s corporate officer. “It’s dedicated as a property so the process would be a little outside the norm in terms of closing it,” she said. “But it is legally defined as a lot, so the process would be different.”
With an increasingly tight budget, Trail council needs to develop a capital plan that is sustainable and takes into account the cost for regular servicing and a modern storm water drainage system, added Perehudoff.
A weight restriction bylaw was created in 2003 to regulate the large volume of traffic on the road. At that time, the city noted an increase in the volume of heavy transport trucks, which are deemed a risk to public safety especially at the switchback corner. FortisBC and Teck vehicles are exempt from the bylaw.
The route is also used for the transportation of dangerous goods, however the present storm drainage system is not equipped to manage potential contamination from oils, chemicals and sediment that could enter storm drains, surface and groundwater.
City staff previously met with Teck Trail Operations to discuss maintenance, upgrades and further vehicle restrictions on the 47-year old route. However the company was firm that the road remain the city’s responsibility, said Perehudoff.
Council agreed to refer the issue back to its Teck Resources Committee for further discussion.