The windshield of one driver after crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge on Dec. 5.

The windshield of one driver after crossing the Alex Fraser Bridge on Dec. 5.

UPDATE: Falling ice smashes windshields on Lower Mainland bridges

Province says it will cover any damage caused by falling ice or snow on the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges

The Transportation Ministry is investigating if deploying de-icing systems sooner would have reduced the amount slush or ice falling onto vehicles as they crossed the Port Mann and Alex Fraser bridges during Monday’s heavy snowfall.

Earlier on Monday, TReO officials had warned small amounts of slush might fall down with a splat – but Transportation Minister Todd Stone said that the weather system developed much faster than staff had anticipated.

“The original forecast for this snow event in the Lower Mainland was for some very light flurries early in the morning and they were supposed to have tapered off by mid-morning,” said Stone. Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley had received two Environment Canada snowfall warnings each on Monday.

The Port Mann episode was less severe than the original 2012 ‘ice bombs’ incident – which led the province to install a snow-clearing system for the cables on the Port Mann Bridge as a result.

However, Stone said that the ministry records had never shown more than a few claims resulting from ice falling off the Alex Fraser Bridge.

“Where we have seen, in previous years and very occasionally, some snow fall down onto the bridge deck it has tended to come from the centre beam of the vertical columns which are in the middle of the  bridge,” said Stone, noting that the de-icing agent is applied to that location.

According to ICBC senior communications specialist Sam Corea, ICBC saw a 13 per cent increase in calls answered by their Dial-a-Claim service from Dec. 5 last year – from 3,848 calls to 4,366 calls. Almost 80 per cent of those calls came from the Lower Mainland.

The auto insurance corporation received 30 claims connecting to falling ice or slush on the Alex Fraser and 10 related to the Port Mann. According to Corea, most claims are for windshield damages. Stone said that the province would cover deductibles for those 40 claims but couldn’t confirm the cost to the province. However, ICBC said that average deductible costs for ICBC-insured drivers is $300.

But photos of smashed windshields once again circulated on social media.

In a statement, ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said that while ice accumulation on the Alex Fraser Bridge was rare, the province was in contact with one driver who had reported damage.

“We are also looking into reports of a small number of vehicles being damaged on the Port Mann Bridge.”

The Port Mann’s design has cables that cross over above the lanes of traffic, while the Alex Fraser has large concrete crossbeams where snow and ice can accumulate.

“We will continue to actively investigate these reports and we will use this information to identify any improvements that can be made for the future,” ministry assistant deputy minister Patrick Livolsi said, adding the ministry will closely monitor both bridges.

He said the Port Mann cable sweepers clear snow from the cables before ice can form, limiting the size of ice that can accumulate and significantly reducing the chance of damage to vehicles.

The province is urging affected drivers to call 604 424-8240.

The 2012 incident resulted in ICBC paying out more than $400,000 in damages after receiving 350 claims for vehicle damage.

@katslepian

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue brought a man to safety, and awaiting paramedics, after a 20-foot fall down an embankment on Jan. 23, 2020, on Harrison West Forest Service Road. (Kent Harrison Search and Rescue photo)
Rescue crew lifts man up 20-foot embankment near Harrison Lake

Kent Harrison Search and Rescue says this is the fifth call already this year

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Jan. 24

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

A mallard duck swims through Salish Pond in Chilliwack on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
WEATHER: Snow, rain in forecast for Fraser Valley

Fraser Valley has been treated to more than a week of mostly sunny weather, but it’s about to end

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment, hits milestones in break-out year

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near Chilliwack secondary

Third high-school related assault Rob Iezzi’s cameras have captured since beginning of 2021

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Most Read