The stretch of Highway 402 which seems prone to winter accidents is now under investigation by Ministry of Transportation.
Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper asked Transportation Minister Glen Murray to look at winter maintenance on the 402.
Five firefighters were injured Tuesday on the way to an accident on the Westbound 402 between Oil Heritage Road and the MTO’s weigh station. One needed surgery on his hand.
It’s not the first accident there this winter. Two people died in a 37-vehicle crash in late February and volunteer firefighters from Plympton-Wyoming have been called to accidents on that stretch of roadway 35 times this winter alone.
Napper, in a letter Murray, says the most recent accident may have been to poor winter road maintenance. Fire Chief Mike Vasey has said there was no salt or sand on the road, which had turned into a sheet of ice.
“The stretch of Highway 402 between markers 15 to 40 needs to be maintained in a proper and timely manner,” writes Napper. ”Why are crews not being deployed to this section of the 402 in a timely manner? This is particularly puzzling given that a MTO Depot is located right in Reeces Comers and there is adequate warning through weather networks and in the media.”
While officials in Murray’s office said he would not be available for a telephone interview for the next four days, they did release a statement saying the minister is very concerned about the incident and the ministry staff have already begun investigating what the road conditions were like on Tuesday.
“Our records indicate the ministry’s maintenance contractor patrolled Highway 402 several times in the hours leading up to Tuesday evening’s collision, and had deployed equipment to plow and spread salt on the highway,” says the statement attributed to the minister.
“This equipment reached the site of the collision just after it took place, and had to turn around because of the road closure. The contractor’s operations will be further reviewed as part of our audit process to ensure that they have met all contract requirements.”
“If we find that an operational requirement is not met, we impose consequences in accordance with the contracts to compel the contractor to review and modify their operations to ensure that requirements are met in the future.”
Aside from the injured firefighters, two of the Plympton-Wyoming fire department’s vehicles were totalled in the crash and will have to be replaced.