Bridge closures possible as B.C. works to avoid 'ice bomb' repeat
Crews could be forced to close the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges if they can't prevent more "ice bombs" from dropping during Thursday's pending snowstorm, the government has warned.
The falling ice and slush that cracked windshields and dented vehicles on both bridges Monday has resulted in 80 insurance claims so far, but B.C.'s Ministry of Transportation has been working to avoid a repeat this week.
"We're redoubling our efforts to make sure that doesn’t happen again tonight or tomorrow," Minister Todd Stone said at a news conference.
Crews have applied anti-icing solution to the Alex Fraser's crossbeams, but Stone warned that if heavy snow starts to accumulate and threaten vehicles, the government could decide to temporarily close some of the lanes – or even the entire crossing.
Drivers are warned to expect possible delays, and advised to check for any closures on the DriveBC website.
The bulk of Monday's damage was caused on the Alex Fraser, which came as a surprise to the provincial government; the bridge's cables don't hang over the roadway, and Stone said there is no record of falling ice causing damage on that scale.
The Port Mann Bridge, which is the source of 15 of the 80 insurance claims, has snow-clearing collars on each of its 288 overhanging cables. The ministry said crews will be deploying the collars earlier and more frequently than they were Monday.
"As snow collects on the cables, crews will be conducting frequent collar drops throughout the day and evening to clear any snow," the ministry said in a release.
The collars were installed after a widespread "ice bomb" fiasco in December 2012, which damaged roughly 350 vehicles.
The Ministry of Transportation urged motorists to adjust their driving to the winter conditions expected on Thursday, by slowing down, increasing their following distance to at least four seconds, and using extra caution.