A rant: Problems with DriveBC? - ClubTread Community

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post #1 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 03:49 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
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Default A rant: Problems with DriveBC?

This is just a rant.

Failure to update the information in a timely manner:
At around 1pm on Sunday, the DriveBC.ca website was updated to indicate that the Duffey Lake Road was closed due to an avalanche. At some point earlier in the day, there was a minor notice (not listed on the Major Events page or highway information signs) that there would be minor delays between 10am and 1pm.

In reality, the road was fully closed from 5am for scheduled avalanche bombing. Because that information was not made available, many people made a pointless trip up from Vancouver only to get turned around at the gate. I certainly checked in with DriveBC.ca before I left and kept my eye on all the traffic information signs on the way up. When I arrived just after 9am, there was a highway worker guarding the gate who informed me that it would open up at noon to 2pm at the earliest. I informed him that DriveBC.ca was not updated and he passed that information up the chain. It still didn't get fixed for hours. I'm not sure where the communication is breaking down (with the highway maintenance contract company or with DriveBC,) but it's not working.

While we were sitting there, the police and a park ranger drove up to gate, equally surprised that it was closed. It was a waste of our tax dollars to have those people driving around for nothing.


This part of the rant is not related to DriveBC but is equally frustrating:
At around 12:30, they were finished bombing for the day (side note: they still haven't done Rohr Ridge so that might cause more closures tomorrow.) The road could have opened at that point but path 51 (east end of Duffey Lake) slid across the road and so they need to do clean up. Instead of opening the road to the gate at the Sand Shed so that the backccountry users that were still waiting around could access areas like Joffre Lakes, they opted to keep the entire highway closed until it will be possible to drive all the way through later this evening.


Poor message content:
Deciphering the messages on DriveBC is difficult and prone to error.
For example, the current message is
"Closed in both directions 50 km north of Pemberton because of Avalanche Control, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sun Mar 3. No detour available, next update at 6:00 pm. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 2:28 pm PST. (ID# -38993)"
That would imply that you can drive 50km north of Pemberton. In reality, it is closed about 18km north of Pemberton. It's also a flat-out lie since it was closed when I arrived before 10am and was told it had been closed since 5am.

The other day they had a message that referenced the Kane Creek bridge. Kane Creek (the one on the Duffey) is not on any topo map, road map or even http://geobc.gov.bc.ca. That message was basically useless.

Again: I'm not sure which party is responsible for forming the message content but there are clearly some issues.


That's the end of my rant. I'll be writing a letter. I don't mind that they had to do avalanche control or to close the highway. But what value do the taxpayers get out of DriveBC if it can't be relied on for basic information like a planned closure of a highway?



At least it was a good day for a drive


Edit: Made some changes to reflect the fact that it's unclear which party is responsible for the problems.
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:23 PM
Summit Master
 
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Too late now,but the weather network puts that info up every 10 minutes.
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:46 PM
Dru
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They wouldn't have been able to drive through anyhow, rockslide 10km from Lillooet at 6Am this morning, not sure if it is even cleaned up yet. Sounds pretty big. There was a slide in the Canyon too. Not a good weekend to be trying to get from Lillooet to Vancouver.
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 04:52 PM
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I make a habit of listening to Mountain FM for a few minutes in the morning as I'm getting ready, in addition to driveBC - often their road updates are much more up to date and helpful than whatever the government puts out.

-Ryan
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 05:15 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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It looks like the rock slide is now clear:
A DriveBC tweet: "The rockslide 10 km south of Lillooet has been cleared but the highway is STILL CLOSED north of Pemberton for avalanche control."

This picture shows that it wasn't too big:
http://twitter.yfrog.com/obdi1twoj


The avalanche at Path 51 was apparently 80 meters wide and 15 meters deep. It will take some time to dig through it.

Taking a look at their messaging earlier in the day, perhaps they felt that they had announced that the Duffey was closed when they said:
"Closed in both directions 10 km south of Lillooet because of Rock Slide."

If you actually close the highway right outside Pemberton then I don't care where the rock slide is. To me, that sounds like you could still drive to within 10km of Lillooet and therefore access almost anything on the Duffey.



Anyway, just a bit of sloppy communication on their part. It was frustrating to see how many people drove all the way up there for nothing.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 05:55 PM
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Ive also seen information regarding the Coquihalla be as old as 24 hours without an update. Can't always rely on prompt updates from our gov't.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2013, 11:15 PM
Scaling New Heights
 
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Maybe the avy closure information got buried (pun!) by the rock slide closure info. I typically have been having the opposite problem with DriveBC the past few days: Way too much information. 10 emails about the Duffy today alone, and 18 (EIGHTEEN) about the avy closure from Saturday.

Note that they opened the road between 2:23pm and 2:28pm, you just needed to be there to drive it during that 5 minutes..

Quote:
quoteriveBC <[email protected]>

12:55 AM (22 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 10 km south of Lillooet because of Rock
Slide. No estimated time of opening, assessment in progress. Next
update March 3 at 8:00am. Detour is Highway 12 and Highway 1. Updated
on Sun Mar 3 at 12:54 am PST. (ID# 149716)
URL: http://www.drivebc.ca/~149716

7:44 AM (15 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 10 km south of Lillooet because of Rock
Slide. No estimated time of opening, assessment in progress. Next
update March 3 at 8:00am. Detour is Highway 12 and Highway 1. Updated
on Sun Mar 3 at 6:21 am PST. (ID# 149716)
DriveBC <[email protected]>

8:01 AM (15 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 10 km south of Lillooet because of Rock
Slide. No estimated time of opening, assessment continuing. Next
update March 3 at Noon. Detour is Highway 12 and Highway 1. Updated on
Sun Mar 3 at 7:56 am PST. (ID# 149716)
DriveBC <[email protected]>

12:06 PM (11 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 10 km south of Lillooet because of Rock
Slide. Estimated time of opening between 4 PM and 6 PM. Detour is
Highway 12 and Highway 1. Next update 3 pm. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at
12:01 pm PST. (ID# 149716)
DriveBC <[email protected]>

2:27 PM (8 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Road reopened 10 km south of Lillooet. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 2:23
DriveBC <[email protected]>

2:31 PM (8 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 50 km north of Pemberton because of
Avalanche Control, 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sun Mar 3. No detour
available, next update at 6:00 pm. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 2:28 pm
PST. (ID# -38993)
URL: http://www.drivebc.ca/~-38993
DriveBC <[email protected]>

5:05 PM (6 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 50 km north of Pemberton because of
Avalanche Control. Estimated Time of Openign 7:00 pm on Sun Mar 3. No
detour available. Next update at 7:00 pm. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 5:02
DriveBC <[email protected]>

6:05 PM (5 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Closed in both directions 50 km north of Pemberton because of
Avalanche Control. Estimated Time of Opening 7:00 pm on Sun Mar 3. No
detour available. Next update at 7:00 pm. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 6:00
DriveBC <[email protected]>

7:07 PM (4 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Avalanche Control 50 km north of Pemberton. The road is reduced to
single lane alternating traffic. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at 7:04 pm PST.
DriveBC <[email protected]>

8:23 PM (2 hours ago)

to me
**** DriveBC New or Updated Events ******
All times are Pacific Time unless otherwise noted

Please note: the email subscription service provides notification for new and updated event information only. For ongoing event information, please check DriveBC.ca.

Highway 99 Both directions
Avalanche Control 50 km north of Pemberton is now clear, road remains
reduced to Single Lane Alternating Traffic. Updated on Sun Mar 3 at
8:21 pm PST. (ID# -38993)
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 01:00 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
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RE: Full closure of road.
MOTHS primary concern is to ensure the traveling public's safety, not accommodating back-country enthusiasts.
If a person who has 30yrs avalanche experience working on the Duffey deems it necessary to close the road at the salt shed, it was likely for a good reason(s).
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 08:26 PM
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Location: New Westminster, BC, Canada.
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by cdavy

RE: Full closure of road.
MOTHS primary concern is to ensure the traveling public's safety, not accommodating back-country enthusiasts.
If a person who has 30yrs avalanche experience working on the Duffey deems it necessary to close the road at the salt shed, it was likely for a good reason(s).
I think people just want proper communication. Probably a large portion of the people using the road are backcountry enthusiasts
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:21 PM
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those rocks and boulders are very common on that stretch, just be happy not to take one in the side as diving along..
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 03-04-2013, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
High on the Mountain Top
 
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Location: , BC, Canada.
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by cdavy

RE: Full closure of road.
MOTHS primary concern is to ensure the traveling public's safety, not accommodating back-country enthusiasts.
If a person who has 30yrs avalanche experience working on the Duffey deems it necessary to close the road at the salt shed, it was likely for a good reason(s).
I fully agree. I think the avalanche control teams do an amazing job and I don't question their decision to close the highway. The folks who spend all night sitting underneath a slide path digging out the highway out also deserve a lot of credit.




I was frustrated with two other things that I think could be improved:

1) DriveBC communication issues
As taxpayers, we seem to have made a large investment in the DriveBC system. The website just got a major user interface upgrade and it appears to be staffed 365 days/year. None of that stuff is important if they aren't posting timely and accurate information. They could probably deliver more value by shifting priorities instead of by spending more money.



2) A full closure instead of a partial closure for the afternoon
Based on the limited information that I received, here is my understanding of what happened:
At around 12:30pm, the avalanche team had deemed the entire road to be safe and were done with control activities for the day. At that time, a slide was covering the road 30km north of Lillooet Lake and it would take a number of hours to dig it out. The maintenance crew had a choice. They could continue to keep the road closed the road from the 0 km mark at Lillooet Lake or they could open the first 17 km of road and close it from the gate at the Salt Shed.

There were problems with both options:
Keep it closed at 0 km: It seemed like almost all of the people who had been waiting at the gate wanted to visit Joffre Lakes or other destinations before the 17km mark. It was a shame to send them all home.

Move the closure to 17 km: As far as I can tell, there isn't a proper sign at the 0 km mark that would allow the maintenance team to communicate "Highway closed 17 km ahead. No through travel to Lillooet" They were justifiably concerned about a number of people making the unnecessary trip up the hill, only to be turned around at the summit.

It may make sense for the Ministry of Transportation to invest in a new sign or two for the Duffey (just steel ones with flip boards - not the fancy electronic ones) that would provide the maintenance crew with more options for partial closures. As far as I know, most of the slides occur after the 17 km mark but most of the visitors go to destinations in the first 17 km.
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