Twitter user @Rodri9uez posted this photo of windshield damage from ice falling at the Alex Fraser Bridge Dec. 19.

Twitter user @Rodri9uez posted this photo of windshield damage from ice falling at the Alex Fraser Bridge Dec. 19.

Alex Fraser Bridge drivers also hit by falling ice

Proudfoot says Port Mann may close again if watchful crews detect 'any risk'

eavy snow and ice falling from the Alex Fraser Bridge on Dec. 19 also damaged an estimated 30 vehicles on the same day the phenomenon forced the four-hour closure of the new Port Mann Bridge.

Motorists on the Alex Fraser reported cracked windshields and roof damage after heavy chunks of ice or slush dropped on them.

ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman said there are now 240 damage claims from falling ice chunks at the Port Mann Bridge.

“It does seem to be a confluence of lots of different weather conditions coming into play,” he said.

Provincial officials have blamed a rare combination of severe snow and a cycle of freezing and thawing weather for the Port Mann damage.

Although there had been past reports of falling ice at the Alex Fraser in 2005 and 2008, Grossman said last Wednesday’s was the worst case to date.

He said ICBC staff will carefully review all claims to ensure drivers aren’t fraudulently reporting damage from other causes.

In the case of Port Mann claims, TReO’s records will be checked to verify the vehicle actually crossed the toll bridge on Dec. 19.

Unlike the Port Mann Bridge, where cables cross over top of traffic to the central support towers, the Alex Fraser’s cables rise vertically beside the bridge decks.

They can still drop snow or ice buildup onto traffic if the wind blows in that direction.

But Transportation Investment Corp. CEO Mike Proudfoot said most of the ice that fell at the Alex Fraser built up and dropped from the horizontal concrete crossbeams that run above traffic between the support towers.

It happened despite the application of a deicing chemical by road maintenance contractor Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting, which monitors snow and ice buildup on the Alex Fraser crossbeams via remote camera.

Proudfoot said the province is now carrying out “very detailed” weather monitoring to guard against a repeat of the falling ice hazard at the Port Mann.

Crews will conduct hourly reviews and assessments of the risk to motorists if the temperature drops below two degrees, he added.

“If there is any risk at all, the possibility is there for another closure of the bridge,” Proudfoot said.

Engineers continue to look at various potential retrofits to keep snow and ice from building up on the new bridge, centrepiece of the $3.3-billion Port Mann/Highway 1 project.

Proudfoot said systems using heat, vibration de-icing or other mechanical methods are all under consideration by engineers with contractor Kiewit-Flatiron as well as from other consulting firms.

Transportation Minister Mary Polak has said the bridge’s design was to ensure snow and ice did not pose a risk to traffic and the contractor will be held responsible for fixing the problem at no cost to taxpayers.

Mainroad is also developing a remote controlled deicing spray system for use at the Alex Fraser, according to the ministry.

Snow that fell from the Alex Fraser Bridge last Wednesday came mainly off the crossbeams between the main supports, not its cables.   Black Press file photo.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Longtime basketball coach Allison McNeill is worried that the COVID-19 pandemic will adversely affect high-school athletes with university athletic aspirations. (Garrett James/Langley Events Centre photo)
COVID-19: Young athletes scrambling for scholarships, opportunities amid pandemic

‘They lost their whole Grade 12 year’ says Semiahmoo basketball coach Allison McNeill

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
White Rock woman among dozens in Lower Mainland to benefit from Elder Dog program

Dog-care organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but requires more clients to serve

Travis Selje with Rex, the family dog he got to enjoy for the final six months of his life. (Submitted photo)
Defence says evidence ‘compelling, overwhelming’ to acquit Surrey woman in deadly crash

Epileptic seizure caused fatal crash that killed Travis Selje, lawyer argues in final submissions

TEASER
WATCH: Surrey-made anti-bullying video urges youth to #BlockEmDontShareEm

“Break the chain by deleting the image and never forwarding – not even to a best friend’

File photo by Tom Zytaruk
Surrey 2021 tree sale begins Friday

City of Surrey says it’s selling quality trees for $20 each

Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.'s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
456 new COVID-19 cases in B.C., 2 deaths

Since January 2020, 78,278 have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in B.C.

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)
Vaccinating essential workers before seniors in B.C. could save lives: experts

A new study says the switch could also save up to $230 million in provincial health-care costs

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The late Michael Gregory, 57, is accused of sexually exploiting six junior high students between 1999 and 2005. (Pixabay)
Former Alberta teacher accused of sexually assaulting students found dead in B.C.

Mounties say Michael Gregory’s death has been deemed ‘non-suspicious’

A woman boards a transit bus through rear doors, in Vancouver, on Friday, March 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
TransLink slow to reveal crucial details about ransomware attack, says union

Union says company took months to admit what info was stolen, including SIN and bank account details

According to a new poll, a majority of Canadians want to see illicit drugs decriminalized. (THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Majority of Canadians think it’s high time to decriminalize illicit drugs: poll

More than two-times the B.C. residents know someone who died from an overdose compared to rest of Canada

Photograph By @KAYLAXANDERSON
VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Most Read