The windshield of one driver after crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge on Dec. 5.

UPDATE: Falling ice smashes windshields on Lower Mainland bridges

Province says it will cover any damage caused by falling ice or snow on the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges

The Transportation Ministry is investigating if deploying de-icing systems sooner would have reduced the amount slush or ice falling onto vehicles as they crossed the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges during Monday’s heavy snowfall.

Earlier on Monday, TReO officials had warned small amounts of slush might fall down with a splat – but Transportation Minister Todd Stone said that the weather system developed much faster than staff had anticipated.

“The original forecast for this snow event in the Lower Mainland was for some very light flurries early in the morning and they were supposed to have tapered off by mid-morning,” said Stone. Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley had received two Environment Canada snowfall warnings each on Monday.

The Port Mann episode was less severe than the original 2012 ‘ice bombs’ incident – which led the province to install a snow-clearing system for the cables on the Port Mann Bridge as a result.

However, Stone said that the ministry records had never shown more than a few claims resulting from ice falling off the Alex Fraser Bridge.

“Where we have seen, in previous years and very occasionally, some snow fall down onto the bridge deck it has tended to come from the centre beam of the vertical columns which are in the middle of the  bridge,” said Stone, noting that the de-icing agent is applied to that location.

According to ICBC senior communications specialist Sam Corea, ICBC saw a 13 per cent increase in calls answered by their Dial-a-Claim service from Dec. 5 last year – from 3,848 calls to 4,366 calls. Almost 80 per cent of those calls came from the Lower Mainland.

The auto insurance corporation received 30 claims connecting to falling ice or slush on the Alex Fraser and 10 related to the Port Mann. According to Corea, most claims are for windshield damages. Stone said that the province would cover deductibles for those 40 claims but couldn’t confirm the cost to the province. However, ICBC said that average deductible costs for ICBC-insured drivers is $300.

But photos of smashed windshields once again circulated on social media.

In a statement, ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said that while ice accumulation on the Alex Fraser Bridge was rare, the province was in contact with one driver who had reported damage.

“We are also looking into reports of a small number of vehicles being damaged on the Port Mann Bridge.”

The Port Mann’s design has cables that cross over above the lanes of traffic, while the Alex Fraser has large concrete crossbeams where snow and ice can accumulate.

“We will continue to actively investigate these reports and we will use this information to identify any improvements that can be made for the future,” ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said, adding the ministry will closely monitor both bridges.

He said the Port Mann cable sweepers clear snow from the cables before ice can form, limiting the size of ice that can accumulate and significantly reducing the chance of damage to vehicles.

The province is urging affected drivers to call 604 424-8240.

The 2012 incident resulted in ICBC paying out more than $400,000 in damages after receiving 350 claims for vehicle damage.

@katslepian

Just Posted

Achieving for Delta could implement big changes with council majority, school board votes

George Harvie gained strong support from North Delta voters on Oct. 20

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

White Rock Computer Club teaches the way of the future

From cat memes to security, the club has been teaching internet for the past 20 years

UPDATED: George Harvie wins race for Delta mayor

Harvie’s Achieving for Delta slate also took 4 of 6 seats on council and 3 of 7 seats on school board

White Rock mayor-elect to focus on water, communication, OCP

Mayor-elect Darryl Walker says he doesn’t drink White Rock’s tap water

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Three strong earthquakes reported off Vancouver Island

The quakes, all measuring more than 6.0 on the richter scale, were about 260 kilometres west of Tofino

Voting set to start in B.C. proportional representation referendum

Two-part ballots now being mailed to all registered voters

Fraser Valley man dead after head on crash in Okanagan

Accident occurred at about 7:35 a.m.

B.C. oncologist changing the face of breast cancer treatment

Dr. Juanita Crook, a Kelowna oncologist, has seen 100 per cent success using brachytherapy to treat breast cancer in some patients.

Kennedy Stewart challenged with building bridges as mayor of Vancouver: expert

The former NDP MP, who ran as an Independent, will lead 10 councillors divided across four parties

B.C. Youtuber to seal himself ‘in a jar’ to demonstrate impacts of climate change

Kurtis Baute wants to see how long he can last in a 1,000 cubic foot, air-tight greenhouse

One of Taiwan’s fastest trains derails, killing at least 18

The train was carrying more than 360 people

Scheer marks one-year countdown to federal election with campaign-style speech

Conservative Leader insists that it will be Justin Trudeau who ‘makes it personal’

Most Read