As winter approaches, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is readying Lower Mainland highways and bridges to keep people and goods moving safely and efficiently during inclement weather.
The ministry and its maintenance contractors closely monitor conditions when the temperature is near freezing and snow is in the forecast. On Lower Mainland highways, maintenance contractors will proactively apply anti-icing brine when low temperatures are forecast, and plows are mobilized to quickly deal with any accumulation of snow.
A changing climate has resulted in more frequent instances of falling ice and snow from bridge cables. The Alex Fraser Bridge opened in 1986, with falling ice and snow a rare occurrence for the first 30 years of its operation. Over the past few years, however, it has become a regular occurrence.
In response, a system of cable collars has been in place for snow removal on both the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges to reduce snow and ice forming and falling. The system, in place on the Port Mann Bridge since 2013, was adopted on the Alex Fraser Bridge in winter 2017-18.
In the years that cable collars have been used, they have been successful in removing most of the snow on the cables. However, some snow may be shed naturally from the cables as the weather warms or if it is blown off.
To better prepare for the weather conditions that lead to falling ice and snow, the ministry has taken steps to improve its weather forecasting and will be activating the cable-collar systems sooner in a weather event.
As temperatures fall, drivers are reminded that weather conditions can change very quickly. On the Lower Mainland, a cold, rainy day can turn to snow. It is important that drivers do their part by preparing their vehicle for winter weather and adjusting their speed to road and weather conditions.
For a further explanation about the cable collar system and a video of the collars in action, visit: https://www.tranbc.ca/2019/03/05/winter-safety-on-alex-fraser-and-port-mann-bridges-explained/
For resources on how to stay safe on the road this winter, visit Shift into Winter: www.shiftintowinter.ca
Know before you go: check road conditions here: www.DriveBC.ca