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.

Just Posted

(Adam Louis/Observer)
PHOTOS: Students leap into action in track events at Kent Elementary

At Kent Elementary, when the sun’s outside, the fun’s outside. The intermediate… Continue reading

Kindergarten kids from Evans elementary school in Chilliwack painted rocks with orange hearts and delivered them to Sto:lo Elders Lodge recently after learning about residential schools. (Laura Bridge photo)
Kindergarten class paints rocks with orange hearts in Chilliwack for local elders

‘Compassion and empathy’ being shown by kids learning about residential schools

Chilliwack potter Cathy Terepocki (left) and Indigenous enhancement teachers Val Tosoff (striped top) and Christine Seymour (fuchsia coat), along with students at Vedder middle school, look at some of the 500-plus pinch pots on Thursday, June 10 made by the kids to honour the 215 children found at Kamloops Indian Residential School. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Chilliwack students make hundreds of tiny clay pots in honour of 215 Indigenous children

‘I think the healing process has begun,’ says teacher about Vedder middle school project

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay
Webinar looks at sexual abuse prevention among adolescents

Vancouver/Fraser Valley CoSA hosts free online session on June 15

One person was transported to hospital with minor injuries following a two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road June 10. (Adam Louis/Observer)
One hurt following two-vehicle crash on Hot Springs Road

Agassiz Fire Department, B.C. Ambulance Service attended with RCMP

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

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

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

Most Read