As we head into the Christmas long weekend, the B.C. government thanks all of the crews that have been working around the clock for the past three weeks to keep our roads and bridges safe, as the Lower Mainland has been hit with snow, sleet and wind.
Extra crews were brought in to help out with snow-clearing activities during the winter storms. In total, on the Lower Mainland, there have been 25 ministry staff and 120 maintenance contractor workers diligently working on keeping provincial highways, roads and bridges safe for travel.
Throughout the winter storms, a variety of safety measures have been taken to ensure the safety of the travelling public.
On the Alex Fraser Bridge, crews applied a de-icing agent to the crossbeams of the Alex Fraser Bridge, to ensure no buildup of ice on the beams overhead. Twice, the bridge had to be temporarily closed to traffic, due to risk of ice and snow falling off the cables onto the travelled lanes.
In addition, the ministry ordered a heavy-lift helicopter on standby for Sunday, Dec. 18, in case it was needed to perform snow-clearing on the Alex Fraser cables, by using wind gusts from the rotors to clear the snow. Fortunately, the weather that day co-operated, and this measure was not needed.
On Monday, Dec. 19, more snow arrived on Lower Mainland routes, and crews were out plowing and salting the highways and roads to clear the snow. Mainroad deployed 36 trucks to areas hit the hardest by the snow, such as Highway 1, and spread 600 tonnes of salt that day alone.
Throughout the winter weather conditions, high altitude rope access technicians have been hard at work on the Port Mann Bridge, reloading the collars to each of the bridge’s 288 cables. There are 30 collars for each cable, and the collars are dropped when necessary to clear the snow and ice, so the reloading work has been continuous.
When temperatures started to warm up, snow melted quickly, causing water pooling around drains clogged with slush. Workers were on the bridge removing snow and slush with shovels to clear the standing melt water.
Also, behind the scenes, ministry staff have been hard at work at the Regional Transportation Management Centre (RTMC) – a “24-7” service providing real-time monitoring of road and traffic conditions. The technology at the RTMC allows staff to monitor and manage traffic flow, as well as detect, communicate, and respond to traffic incidents in Metro Vancouver and throughout the province.
It’s equipped with over 200 live-streaming video feeds, and over 600 cameras are available to RTMC staff. By identifying congestion points and putting travel conditions out quickly on DriveBC and social media, the ministry is improving the timeliness and accuracy of information to the travelling public.
Motorists are advised that forecasts are calling for more snow over the holidays and crews will be working over Christmas to maintain the safety of the bridges and highways.
With that in mind, the ministry reminds everyone to drive to the conditions of the roads, highways and bridges and to check DriveBC for regular updates on their routes at: www.drivebc.ca and to stay safe over the holidays.
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