Ice bombs have hit several cars

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

In order to minimize closures due to falling "ice bombs," a heavy-lift helicopter will be used to blow the snow off the bridge's cables.

With more snow in the forecast for this weekend, government engineers have settled on a novel plan to minimize further weather-related closures of the Alex Fraser Bridge: using a helicopter to blow the snow away.

According to a press release issued Friday afternoon by B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, in the event that snow and ice accumulates and engineers determine there is a risk to public safety, a heavy-lift helicopter will be deployed whose rotors will create strong blasts of wind that will blow the snow accumulations off of the cables.

The helicopter is only a temporary solution as the ministry works on developing a longer-term solution.

Last week, the province’s engineers had to close the Alex Fraser Bridge two times due to snow and ice falling from the bridge’s cables. Both times, the bridge was closed for over four hours, delaying motorists and adding congestion to other routes.

It’s estimated using a helicopter to blow the snow off the cables should reduce the inconvenience by cutting closure times to about two or three hours while the work is being done to clear the snow.

The press release says a combination of factors led to the Alex Fraser Bridge closures on Saturday, Dec. 10, and on Monday. Dec. 12.

First, a large amount of snow accumulated on the cables, then the cycling of temperatures and wind direction increased the likelihood of shedding snow and ice. Most years, there is very little snow or the snow blows off without accumulating.

Meanwhile on the Port Mann Bridge, crews have been performing multiple snow-clearing drops on the bridge’s 288 cables and traffic has been flowing safely and smoothly on this bridge as a result. Over the weekend, crews will continue these snow-clearing drops as necessary.

Metro Vancouver drivers are reminded to expect winter weather conditions on the roads, to drive carefully, to increase following distance to at least four seconds, and to check drivebc.ca for regular updates on their routes.

The ministry will also continue to keep the driving public informed of any traffic control activities via Twitter, DriveBC and digital message signs.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

McCallum says Surrey LRT communication plan close to election is ‘perceived interference’

McCallum ‘gravely concerned’ Surrey and TransLink will violate election financing rules, but city says all rules will be followed

White Rock’s Johnston Road to re-open on schedule: city

One lane in each direction expected to open by Friday at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: Neighbours fear impact of B.C. tent city residents

Greater Victoria residents opposed to campers voice concerns at provincial campground

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income people

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

Extradition hearing set for Lower Mainland developer accused of fraud

Mark Chandler will go before the B.C. Court of Appeals early next year.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Most Read