Trucks from U.S. line up at Aldergrove border crossing after border restrictions were put in place, March 18, 2020. (Black Press files)

COVID-19: B.C. adds highway washrooms for truck drivers

Portable toilets installed at inspection, chain-up locations

The B.C. government is adding portable toilets to provincial highway stops to help transport truck drivers continue to stock food, fuel and other necessary goods to communities around the province in the novel coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 portable toilets have been installed at commercial pull-outs and inspection stations since the operation began on the Easter weekend, the transportation ministry said April 15. More are coming, with 55 brake checks and 39 chain areas around the province.

So far there are four new portable toilets on Vancouver Island, eight in the Lower Mainland, one in Okanagan-Shuswap, six in Cariboo-North and two in the Rocky Mountain transportation region.

Ministry contractors are cleaning and maintaining the 203 rest areas on provincial highways, including 48 seasonal facilities that are now open until fall. Any maintenance issues should be reported to the regional highway maintenance contractor or the nearest transportation ministry office.

The situation has improved for truckers since the early days of the COVID-19 restrictions, which saw long lineups at U.S. border crossings, and closure of fast-food restaurant walk-ins and restrooms. Chains such as Tim Hortons have reopened some locations for takeout, for drivers whose rigs are too big to go through a drive-through, and opened washrooms for commercial drivers.

RELATED: Truckers face long hours, few supplies in COVID-19 emergency

RELATED: Border crossings by land, air down 96 per cent in essential service

The B.C. Trucking Association has pitched in with a food truck project, offering free meals for truckers at cardlock fuel stations in Chilliwack, Kelowna, Kamloops and Prince George. The association has a Facebook page for the project, and another page for truckers that compiles business and income assistance programs available for the COVID-19 emergency.

Sponsored by Parkland Fuels and Chevron, the food truck project has added additional sponsors including Kal Tire and Langley-based GNS Freight Solutions for the Chilliwack truck, Dutchlicious at Yale Road.

Tolko Industries has come on as a sponsor for the Kamloops food truck, Cookshack Cravings at the Chevron cardlock on Versatile Drive.

Surfside California Tacos truck is operating on Acland Road just off Highway 97 in Kelowna. Smokey J’s Smoked Meats on Great Street in Prince George is also participating.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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