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Paving company defends traffic control work during Kitimat paving

While motorists were frustrated, Terrace Paving says work had to get done ahead of a change in weather.

The manager of Terrace Paving, the contractor in charge of the road work that has been taking place in Kitimat over the course of the past few weeks has said the lengthy delays for motorists is simply a fact of daytime work.

He said the alternative would be nighttime paving which would come to a larger cost to the taxpayer.

Terrace Paving Manager Mirko Rutar said the work was really a race against the weather given that such work is normally done earlier in the summer but the municipal strike caused delays through the season.

“Normally it would be nice not to work in to the rush hour but if your timing is such that you have to get work done with the weather being a factor, so be it,” he said.

He also noted the work is done far faster these days than in years passed due to a new asphalt plant in Kitimat, taking a job that would mean two weeks worth of work and compressing it to under one week of total project time.

The subject of traffic control emerged as Kitimat motorists had to deal with delays from Haisla Bridge to the City Centre, and the intersections in-between. The community frustration effectively came to a head on Monday, September 14, as people waiting to leave the Service Centre had to endure notably lengthy waits.

Town councillor Mario Feldhoff said it took him one hour from the area around Kentron to finally reach his home on Wakita Street, and he encouraged District of Kitimat staff at the September 14 Committee of the Whole meeting to speak to Terrace Paving to ensure the proper practices are in place to spare unnecessary waiting in the future.

Rutar said based on conversations with his staff he’s not sure that an hour would have passed for Feldhoff waiting in traffic, but did support the traffic control plans that were in place.

“Nothing is perfect from a traffic control point of view,” he said, saying the work involves coordinating a lot of people that are constantly moving, in this case through three town intersections.

Rutar also says motorists themselves need to shoulder some of the responsibility.

“People don’t help,” he said. “People go through the site in the morning and they still go back at lunch. Why wouldn’t you take a bagged lunch that day? All my people did...Some common sense sometimes does not prevail.”

The company was waiting for another day of good weather to wrap up the bulk of the remaining work, and would also work on some minor patching around town too.

Rutar said he has spoken with the District of Kitimat and feels assured the town staff don’t see problems.

“I’ve had discussions with the District, they’re not overly concerned about it,” he said about traffic control. “They understand. Short term pain for long-term gain.”

Traffic control is managed by Terrace Paving but the flaggers themselves belong to a subcontractor, he said.