© Guardian photo
Paving work on the "Plan B" highway re-alignment in Bonshaw.
North River Fire Department's chief won't be asking the province for special training to deal with accidents on the steep slopes of the Trans-Canada Highway realignment known as Plan B.
Last week Chief Kirby Wakelin told the media he might ask the provincial government for special training for firefighters who may have to respond to accidents if vehicles go through guard rails along elevated sections of the highway.
In an interview with The Guardian on Monday, Wakelin said he won't be asking for extra training because all of the firefighters within his group are high-angle trained and prepared for accidents on the steep slopes.
"All ready to go," he said.
In order to reduce the grade on the new highway, construction crews built up parts of the roadbed leaving elevated areas with steep slopes dropping off to the sides.
Those sections are lined with guardrails to help keep vehicles from leaving the road and crashing to the bottom of the hills in case of an accident.
Wakelin said the chance of someone going over the side of the road is low on the straight stretches and the guardrails add a level of protection.
"As far as I'm concerned the government has done more than its share," he said.
Even with the steep slopes, Wakelin said the fire department has all of the equipment it needs for potential rescues, including ropes, harnesses and all-terrain vehicles.
"We don't need anything else," he said.
Transportation Minister Robert Vessey said he didn't have any concerns about vehicles driving off the road in the elevated sections.
"There's lots of highways across the country with embankments a lot steeper than that," he said.
As for the highway's progress, Vessey said the department hopes to open the new section from the Bonshaw Bridge heading east over a temporary road onto the paved section of the alignment by the end of this week or the weekend.
That section will run to the Riverdale Road before joining the old highway for several weeks until the highway opens up to the former Encounter Creek property, he said.
Traffic will be down to one lane as necessary while work is completed.
Vessey said a temporary road will be used near the Encounter Creek property until the old section of highway is removed and everything connected.
"Right now I'd say we have 65 per cent of the paving or 70 per cent of the paving done," he said.
That leaves the province aiming to have everything open by around the middle of October, Vessey said.
"It's been going quite well. We've had great weather."