Merritt Mayor: Coquihalla upkeep needs to change

If winter maintenance guidelines are being met on the Coquihalla, it's time for new guidelines.

That's the message from Merritt's Mayor Neil Menard, who says he's not on board with the province's claims that the work is sufficient.

He says all three phases of the Coq need to be better kept.

"Quite honestly, we don't think that they are living up to the contract as mandated. I spend a lot of time on all three of those highways, especially between here and Hope. I think it's been closed 21 times in the last month, which is totally unacceptable," he said.

Menard says he was able to meet with Transportation Minister Claire Trevena last Wednesday, and was able to outline his major concerns.

"The highway maintenance has to be looked at, the snowplowing, the removal," he said. "They've got to look at the truckers, making sure they've got winter tires, they have chains, (or) they're pulled off the road and made to put chains on."

"Policing - our police on the highway, they're even nervous about being out there the way some of these folks drive. Not just the trucks, everyday drivers are a safety issue as well."

He says the priority is re-evaluating agreements with hired contractors.