Friday’s blast of winter weather caused dozens of vehicles to be damaged by ice and snow falling from Lower Mainland bridges.
As of about 3 p.m., ICBC had received 67 claims related to ice falling from three of the region’s bridges — 41 from the Port Mann, 24 from the Alex Fraser and two from the Golden Ears Bridge.
“We’ve seen a significant increase in call volume to our Dial-A-Claim. It’s too early for us to say how much of an increase we’ve received,” said ICBC representative Lindsay Wilkins.
The Alex Fraser Bridge was closed for approximately an hour this morning while police and Ministry of Transportation staff assessed the situation, before reopening one lane northbound and two lanes southbound shortly before noon.
Ice removal collars were released throughout the storm to clear accumulated snow and ice from the cables on the Port Mann Bridge, but high winds this morning prevented ministry staff from safely deploying the cable collars on the Alex Fraser.
Our staff and maintenance crews have been closely monitoring onsite at both the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges throughout the night and today. High winds this morning prevented our rope access technicians from safely deploying the cable collars on the Alex Fraser Bridge.
— BC Transportation (@TranBC) January 10, 2020
“Ministry staff have been onsite throughout the night and today, and are continuing to actively monitor the weather and conditions at both the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges until the storm event passes,” according to a statement from the Ministry of Transportation Friday afternoon.
The ministry expects all lanes on both bridges to be open for the afternoon rush, citing “very little” snow accumulation on the cables this afternoon.
With more winter weather expected, here ICBC offer drivers the following winter driving tips:
• Slow down — Posted speed limits are for ideal conditions only. Adjust your driving in winter conditions, and allow yourself at least twice the normal braking distance on snow-covered or slushy roads.
• Headlights on — Use your headlights in poor weather and reduced visibility, not only at night, to help you see ahead and be seen by other drivers.
• Watch for other road users — Look twice for pedestrians crossing the road particularly when visibility is poor.
• Prevent a skid — Black ice is commonly found on roads with shaded areas, bridges, overpasses and intersections where car exhaust and packed snow freeze quickly. If you drive over black ice and start to skid, ease off the accelerator and look and steer smoothly in the direction you want to go. Don’t brake — this will make the situation worse. You may need to repeat this manoeuvre several times until you regain control.
• Check your vehicle — Prepare your vehicle for winter driving. Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Check the condition of your windshield wiper blades and replace them if they’re worn out. Top up wiper fluid for clearer visibility and carry extra washer fluid in your vehicle. Fill up your gas tank. Pack an emergency kit and make sure it includes a flashlight and extra batteries.
• Plan ahead — Check road and weather conditions on drivebc.ca before heading out.
• If you don’t feel confident about driving in winter conditions, staying off the road can be a less stressful and safer option. Instead of driving, you may want to consider taking public transit (if available), carpooling with a friend who’s a confident driver, taking a taxi or working from home.
If your vehicle has been damaged by falling ice, report it to ICBC’s Dial-a-Claim by calling 604-520-8222 or toll free: 1-800-910-4222 y’re open 24/7. Customers can also report it online.