(Katya Slepian/Black Press)

Alex Fraser Bridge to get snow removal system by January

The cable collar system will cost $5 million

The Alex Fraser Bridge will be getting a new cable collar system for snow removal before the end of January 2018, according to a release from the B.C. government.

The collar system, first announced in August, will be similar to the system used on the Port Mann Bridge to prevent snow and ice from building up and falling onto moving vehicles. The Alex Fraser system will be operated manually to ensure its effectiveness.

Related: Alex Fraser Bridge to get congestion relief, ice removal

“Last winter, thousands of drivers were affected when snow and ice on the Alex Fraser Bridge’s cables forced some closures of this busy crossing,” said Delta North MLA Ravi Khalon.

“Adding a cable collar system to clear snow and ice will vastly improve the reliability of the bridge when the snow arrives.

“For a high-capacity bridge like the Alex Fraser, one closure is one too many, which is why we’re investing in this system.”

Last winter, over 100 drivers reported “ice bombs” falling from the Alex Fraser Bridge and smashing car windshields, leading the province to close the bridge several times over the course of the winter.

At one point, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure planned to use a heavy-lift helicopter to blow accumulated snow off of the cables.

Ministry to use chopper as temporary solution for snow clearing on Alex Fraser Bridge

In total, it cost the B.C. government $1 million to remove snow from the Alex Fraser Bridge last winter.

“Our government is making investments that will make life easier for people and their families,” said Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena.

“This new cable collar system will help ensure the Alex Fraser Bridge stays open – regardless of the weather – so people can get to work on time.”

Two B.C. contractors, Valid Manufacturing Ltd. from Salmon Arm and Hercules SLR from Langley, will manufacture the system’s components. Eurovia B.C. from Surrey will install the system.

The total project cost is approximately $5 million.

-with files from James Smith and Katya Slepian

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