1. #1
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    Default Trans Canada Atrocity Strathmore-Walsh

    Just a question for the Alberta firefighters and rescue people. How many incidents did you have to respond to on that gawd awful #! Hwy on Friday Oct. 31?

    In 31 years of driving, that has to be the worst POS piece of road I was ever on. 1.5 hours from Bassano to Brooks. With a semi. Just a sick joke. 6.5 from Calgary to the SK border where miracuously(sp) the road went to being just wet with occasionial patches of pack. Like they actually did some work on the road.

    Volker Sveinson should be sued for the work that wasn't done.

    How many fatalities? I saw at least 100 vehicles in the ditch and about the same # of tracks where they had been pulled out.

    Maybe Alberta should spend some of that oil money on actually doing highway maintainence.

    It will cost me about $500 to go through my truck and check it out for damage. That was just brutal. How much time did it add to your responses because you couldn't drive any faster than 40 kph? And how were your steering and suspension systems after.

    If this is an example of how great things are in Alberta, am I ever glad I don't have to live there.
    This is of course only my humble opinion, but then again, its likely the only one that matters.

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    DFC????? Alberta hwy's bad ???? Good Lord Man, when was the last time you drove in SK??? Those have got to be the crappiest sections of hwy that I've ever encountered in my life. SK patches a hole in the road and just dumps the leftover asphalt on the side leaving big humps of pavement here and there, don't pull over to let anyone pass or you're liable to become airborne. Were you driving on the roads just after the blizzard, when the RCMP were NOT recommending hwy travel? Yes those roads can get bad during storms because of the open prairie area that allows for drifting and blowing snow across the hwy.

    In the past year and a half I've driven in BC, AB, SK and MB and I have to say that AB had some of the best hwy systems going. Had to have been the weather conditions at the time. Volker Stevin is usually pretty good about sending out the trucks as soon as inclement weather hits, but like the rest of us they are only human and only so many.

    Sorry your AB driving experience wasn't a good one.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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  3. #3
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    I don't know about the Strathmore/Brooks area, as it's out of my response area/district. But Calgary and points west was frighteningly quiet on Wednesday and Thursday, as far as road incidents go. I worked dispatch on both days and was startled by how uneventful it was.

    I live west of Calgary where Volker Stevin has the contract. (For those who aren't familiar, in Alberta, road maintenance and upkeep is contracted out to various organizations - mainly construction companies - Volker Stevin, Carmacks, Ledcor, and Inland Cement.) Frankly, Volker did a great job that day where I drove. They even helped out where the Municipal District of Rockyview dropped the ball - my road was over a foot deep in snow and Volker cleared the mouth of it out so we could get out onto the highway.

    Highway 2 between Calgary and Red Deer was the real disaster. As I understand it, it was closed completely at Carstairs due to the semis that got stranded in the valleys and coulees there.

    I heard of and saw LOTS of vehicles in the ditches, but no fatalities that I know of. I came into the city by Highway 1 from the west, doing about 65-70 kph. The only nuts I encountered were an Excursion and a 53' semi, both doing about 125-130 kph in the passing lane, or mostly in the passing lane, and partially in my lane...

    In the city of Calgary, for the first time in a long, long time, it seems like everyone heeded the warnings and stayed off the roads. We didn't have any serious crashes of note until Friday night, and that couldn't even be considered part of the weather - it was a person who blew a light and got nailed by a bus.

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    Hwy 2 between Calgary and Edmonton is a bad stretch of hwy to begin with, it's shut down a few times each winter.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    There's no such thing as bad highways, only bad drivers.

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    Snow, ice, and exceptionally strong wind gusts have closed several highways in the Calgary area today. I drove 75 kilometers round-trip from west of Bragg Creek to Cochrane and back earlier, and the roads were dry, but everything from super-B semi-trucks to light cars were all having trouble staying in their lanes.

    Wouldn't want to be out in the tanker today!

    Stay safe

    --j.

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    I recently left the Strathmore Rural Fire Department for the Drumheller Fire Department, so I can't comment on this day specifically.

    However it's been my experience that in heavy storm conditions no amount of plowing/sanding/salting will keep that stretch of hiway in reasonable shape.

    There is about 120KM from Strathmore to Brooks, and not much in between. The stretch near Cluny gets sepcially bad with the valleys in that region.

    The most critical incident I attended involved a greyhound bus, a transport truck and numerous other vehicles. Response was from Strathmore, Carseland and Bassano. The 50KM trip took the better part of 40 minutes to complete due to road conditions. We lucked out in having a city of Calgary transit bus (in transit from the factory) being behind the incident when it happened and was able to provide shelter for the greyhound occupants while the driver had the steering colum removed from his lap.

    The incident occured on the long pull leading up to Cluny hilltop from the east. There were 7 or 8 semi's stopped on the hill waiting for the wreckage to be cleared. Not 1 had chains on board and all ended up backing down the hiway to wait for the snowplow's to clear the way.

    Anyways, my point is that when things get really crappy, it may be a good time for the professional driver to park at his favorite Husky house and wait it out rather than grinding 6.5 hours in admittedly bad conditions.

    We (FD) don't need/want to be out on the skating rinks of Southern Alberta any more than the next guy.


    And finally, to finish my gushing about roads east of Calgary. Hiway #1 west of Strathmore tends to get significantly more attention in blizzard conditions due to the volume of commuter traffic flowing between Strathmore and Calgary.


    RSA

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    Being From the Frost bowl of Alberta (Red Deer area). We see a couple closures a year and a lot of time it should have been closed.

    The plows only can do so much. Then they get pulled off the road as with the blowing snow, and poor conditions they become a traffic hazzard also (every one tries to pass the plows). Plows hit the ditch and people follow it in also.

    As I understand from the Highway patrols the Minister of Transport is the only one that can close Hwy 1 and 2. period. (other than a temp closure due to an accident)

    The other issue is just like any other operator they are only allowed to log a certain number of hours behind the wheel. An extended storm and things get really bad.

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    Ameland, not true, there are bad roads unfortunatly. As for the #1 you got to remember that piece of crap is owned by the Federal gov't. Ya the same federal gov't that cut military spending, and decided to build hotels in Quebec as well as golf courses, oh and don't forget the Museum of Man in Ottawa, the Dead rabbit art collection in Manitoba, and the list goes on and on and on...............

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    I am very happy to hear that there were no fatalities. There were certainly a whack of vehicles upright and otherwise. That no responders were injured or killed is even better. But the road from Strathmore to Walsh was a sick joke.

    Points to ponder: West of Calgary the night before was typical winter driving conditions, with blowing snow, some drifting and nothing out of the ordinary. My rig weighed 79,800 lbs (US load).
    East of Calgary it deteriorated to the point that I DID shut down in Brools from 0800 to 1100 to give the crews time to work on it. There was no work done that I could see except for about 30km in and out of Medicine Hat where the road had been plowed and salted to bare pavement. I stand by my statement, that the contracter should be sued. At the SK border, the same highway was wet, but had no ice or snow. SK crews had obviously been working hard to get the road in shape.

    The #1 highway in Alberta is owned and maintained by the Gov. of Alberta, as is the #16. As part of the so-called National Highway System, the province recieves a pitiful amount of Federal money to help with maintainence and upgrade. But it is still a provincial highway. And plow operators ahve an hours of service exemtion that lets them run extra hours. Even if they didn't, by law they could run 13 hours per day.

    Alberta's highways are in better shape than most in the country (I've been in EVERY province in the last 6 months and I drive between 18 and 24 thousand km a month) but that doesn't excuse the pitiful condition of the road on that day. Every driver I talked to that day said that the roads got better in SK because the plows were out, and by 0930 or so were saying once you got to SK they were wet, but no ice or snow.

    But enough of the rant. Merry Christmas to everyone and may you have a safe and happy holiday season.
    This is of course only my humble opinion, but then again, its likely the only one that matters.

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