With colder temperatures in the forecast, 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 weather conditions at the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges. Advanced weather data means crews are better prepared to deal with ice and snow, and can activate the cable collar systems sooner in bad weather.
Changing climate has resulted in more frequent instances of falling ice and snow from bridge cables. The Alex Fraser Bridge opened in 1986. Falling ice and snow was rare for the first 30 years of its operation. Over the past few years, however, it has become a more regular occurrence.
The cable collar systems are used to remove snow that builds up on the cables, so that traffic can safely pass. The system has been in place on the Port Mann Bridge since 2013 and 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’s blown off by the wind.
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 bad weather.
In certain conditions, a partial or full closure of the Alex Fraser or Port Mann bridge may be necessary to ensure driver safety. Drivers are reminded to check their route on DriveBC before setting out.
On Lower Mainland highways, maintenance contractors will proactively apply anti-icing brine when freezing temperatures are forecast, and plows will be mobilized to quickly deal with any accumulation of snow.
As temperatures fall, drivers are reminded that weather conditions can change quickly. It’s 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: https://shiftintowinter.ca/
Know before you go – check road conditions here: www.DriveBC.ca