Queensborough Bridge partially reopened after power outage
A major commuter route has been reopened in both directions after a power outage shut down the area for hours.
The Queensborough Bridge in New Westminster closed early Wednesday morning when power was cut to the lights in the area. The outage was caused by an electrical fire spotted beneath a manhole on the bridge at approximately 2 a.m.
Crews arrived to find that an important high-voltage cable had been affected.
“At this point, it is not clear how much damage to the main power supply connecting Queensborough there is,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Cote.
No one was working on the bridge at the time, but the city said the cables in the area are about 20 years old. Until the cause is determined, it is not known exactly how long repairs will take.
The city warned that power may not be fully restored to the area until midnight, but officials decided to open two lanes of the bridge to northbound traffic at 1:30 p.m. A southbound lane was reopened shortly before 3 p.m.
Pedestrians were also permitted to use the bridge again, but access was limited to the bridge's east side.
The bridge over the Fraser River is used by about 80,000 people a day. It was completely closed during the morning rush hour Wednesday as crews examined the area for damage, but when no structural issues were found, officials deemed it safe for use.
“There’s no doubt this incident has created some significant disruption,” Cote said.
The partial reopening ahead of rush hour was approved after a lengthy morning commute that saw traffic backed up on alternate routes through the region.
The closure also affected bus routes that involve the bridge. Service on the 340 and 388, which usually end at the 22nd Street SkyTrain Station, are ending at Scott Road, TransLink said.
The 410 and C98 from 22nd Station are using the Knight Street Bridge as an alternate route. Extra staff will be on hand to help transit users navigate the changes, but those using the affected routes should allow ample travel time.
Further details and updates are available online.
In addition to traffic lights and signs in the area, about 8,000 residents, schools and businesses were also without power due to the fire.
Some dealt the outage by purchasing generators. Others simply planned to barbecue or order pizza as they waited for the power to be restored.
The City of New Westminster has reached out to community organizations in the area to help residents affected by the lengthy outage. Starlight Casino has backup power and is offering a free buffet meal to affected residents between 4 and 7 p.m. (ID required). Match Eatery and Public House will be serving underage residents.
City staff will be looking at other ways to support residents and businesses if needed.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Sarah MacDonald and Breanna Karstens-Smith
There are intersections in Queensborough with the lights out. A reminder to treat those as a four way stop. We’re seeing a few people drive right through...— BreannaKarstensSmith (@BreannaCTV) October 25, 2017
Here's the cause of this morning's traffic chaos—the Queensborough Bridge, completely closed. Crews are now midspan assessing fire damage. pic.twitter.com/7XAmx5sRbQ— Sarah MacDonald (@CTVSarah) October 25, 2017
The Queensborough Bridge is completely closed this morning due to an electrical fire. Officials expect power to be out for up to 10 hours. pic.twitter.com/8ZG2ge3GI0— Sarah MacDonald (@CTVSarah) October 25, 2017
Traffic is being re-routed as inspectors assess the damage to the bridge. Plan for long delays—and avoid the area altogether, if possible. pic.twitter.com/Iuq5vJWAMG— Sarah MacDonald (@CTVSarah) October 25, 2017