(Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

With up to 10 centimetres of snow forecast for the Lower Mainland in the coming days, the province isn’t risking a repeat of last winter’s bridge fiasco.

The transportation ministry announced Tuesday that drivers could see temporary lane closures on the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges over the next few days.

“Traffic control personnel will be on site and ready to implement lane closures, if needed, for snow clearing from the cable stays,” the ministry said in a statement.

This fall, a transportation ministry spokesperson told Black Press that they had 900,000 litres of brine and over 8,000 cubic metres of salt at the ready.

READ: Falling ice smashes windshields on Lower Mainland bridges

That’s 5,000 extra cubic metres of salt compared to last year.

ICBC said 100 people reported ice or snow-caused damage to their cars last winter, forcing the ministry to close the Alex Fraser bridge for a couple of days.

The province is outfitting the Alex Fraser with cable collars similar to those on the Port Mann. That work was scheduled to be completed at the end of January but has been delayed.

A ministry spokesperson said that the bridge will be outfitted with 10 collars, one anchor and one stopper on each of its 192 cables.

As of mid-February, 105 anchors, 160 collars and all the stoppers have been installed.

All collars are expected to be installed by the end of March.

In mid-January, the province put out a bid for a helicopter to help clear ice and snow off Lower Mainland bridges.

Clearing snow and ice off the two bridges last year cost the province $5 million total; $1 million for the Alex Fraser and $4 million for the Port Mann.


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