Sweepers to clean up crack sealing gravel on Highway 97 near Fort St. John today

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Officials with Yellowhead Road & Bridge say that sweepers will be out in full force today cleaning up the gravel that has been strewn all over the Alaska Highway near Fort St. John in recent days while crews conducted highway maintenance work.

YRB North Peace General Manager Chris Charbonneau says that that street sweepers will be making the rounds to clean up the gravel that has been spread over the sealed-up cracks.

Charbonneau explained that sweepers have been cleaning up the gravel in other spots along the highway south of town, but that the sweepers can only start cleaning up the gravel once the tar used to seal cracks in the road has set.

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According to Charbonneau, crews need to leave the gravel covering the tar to ensure that vehicles don’t track the substance all over the roads or get it stuck to motorist’s tires.

He added that crews seal cracks along the highway on an annual basis, but that its been several years since crews have had to seal cracks so close to Fort St. John, where traffic volumes are higher than in other areas.

“We do this every year, but it’s not usually on the four-lane right through town, so a lot more people are going to be seeing it who haven’t seen it before,” said Charbonneau. “It’s just a little bit more visible this year.”

He explained that crews seal cracks during specific times during the highway’s road surface lifecycle, which is roughly every 5 to 7 years.

Residents have been seen taking to local social media groups to vent their frustrations about the gravel, or to post photos of damage done to their vehicles at a time of year when the roads are usually free of such debris.

A spokesperson with the Attorney General’s Ministry was not able to immediately comment when asked about the ramifications for local motorists and whether they would be compensated for additional windshield claims because of damage caused by the gravel.

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