The windshield of one driver after crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge on Dec. 5.

UPDATE: Falling ice smashes windshields on Lower Mainland bridges

Province says it will cover any damage caused by falling ice or snow on the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges

The Transportation Ministry is investigating if deploying de-icing systems sooner would have reduced the amount slush or ice falling onto vehicles as they crossed the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges during Monday’s heavy snowfall.

Earlier on Monday, TReO officials had warned small amounts of slush might fall down with a splat – but Transportation Minister Todd Stone said that the weather system developed much faster than staff had anticipated.

“The original forecast for this snow event in the Lower Mainland was for some very light flurries early in the morning and they were supposed to have tapered off by mid-morning,” said Stone. Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley had received two Environment Canada snowfall warnings each on Monday.

The Port Mann episode was less severe than the original 2012 ‘ice bombs’ incident – which led the province to install a snow-clearing system for the cables on the Port Mann Bridge as a result.

However, Stone said that the ministry records had never shown more than a few claims resulting from ice falling off the Alex Fraser Bridge.

“Where we have seen, in previous years and very occasionally, some snow fall down onto the bridge deck it has tended to come from the centre beam of the vertical columns which are in the middle of the  bridge,” said Stone, noting that the de-icing agent is applied to that location.

According to ICBC senior communications specialist Sam Corea, ICBC saw a 13 per cent increase in calls answered by their Dial-a-Claim service from Dec. 5 last year – from 3,848 calls to 4,366 calls. Almost 80 per cent of those calls came from the Lower Mainland.

The auto insurance corporation received 30 claims connecting to falling ice or slush on the Alex Fraser and 10 related to the Port Mann. According to Corea, most claims are for windshield damages. Stone said that the province would cover deductibles for those 40 claims but couldn’t confirm the cost to the province. However, ICBC said that average deductible costs for ICBC-insured drivers is $300.

But photos of smashed windshields once again circulated on social media.

In a statement, ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said that while ice accumulation on the Alex Fraser Bridge was rare, the province was in contact with one driver who had reported damage.

“We are also looking into reports of a small number of vehicles being damaged on the Port Mann Bridge.”

The Port Mann’s design has cables that cross over above the lanes of traffic, while the Alex Fraser has large concrete crossbeams where snow and ice can accumulate.

“We will continue to actively investigate these reports and we will use this information to identify any improvements that can be made for the future,” ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said, adding the ministry will closely monitor both bridges.

He said the Port Mann cable sweepers clear snow from the cables before ice can form, limiting the size of ice that can accumulate and significantly reducing the chance of damage to vehicles.

The province is urging affected drivers to call 604 424-8240.

The 2012 incident resulted in ICBC paying out more than $400,000 in damages after receiving 350 claims for vehicle damage.

@katslepian

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

Just Posted

The strip mall which includes 3 Dogs Brewing on Johnston Road is the site of a proposed 23-storey development given preliminary discussion at White Rock’s Land Use and Planning Committee meeting Oct. 26. (File photo)
White Rock tower would need to provide amenities: council

A 23-storey proposal for uptown could include new city hall facilities

Ranil Prasad saw this poster near Surrey Central SkyTrain station on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. He said it expressed “some specific reference to white replacement theory.” (Photo: Ranil Prasad/@run_neil/Twitter)
Surrey man urges public to watch out for ‘white replacement theory’ posters

Ranil Prasad said he saw the messaging at a Surrey SkyTrain station

Washington State Department of Agriculture workers, wearing protective suits and working vacuumed a nest of Asian giant hornets from a tree Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Nest of ‘murder hornets’ found near South Surrey

String of traps set up along border to capture Asian giant hornets

Construction of Douglas College's Surrey Campus in 1970. (Photo: Douglas College Archives)
PHOTOS: Douglas College’s Surrey roots at a B.C.-first campus in 1970

The official date of the Douglas/Kwantlen split was April 1, 1981

B.C.’s parliament building, Victoria. (Photo: Tom Fletcher)
ZYTARUK: Votes come at a premium price. Time to pay the tab

Promises are rained upon the voting public much like confetti being blasted from the maw of a cannon, or particles of ash spewn from an erupting volcano

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

An elderly woman wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past an advertisement for a television series in Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. has been under a COVID-19 state of emergency for more than half the year

Province has been under a state of emergency for 32 weeks – and counting

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Pixabay photo
‘Horrific’ abuse of volunteers and staff by parents must stop, Chilliwack soccer club says

Parents have become abusive after being told COVID-19 rules, email says

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Most Read