Ice bombs have hit several cars

Ice bombs have hit several cars

Ministry to use chopper as temporary solution for snow clearing on Alex Fraser Bridge

In order to minimize closures due to falling "ice bombs," a heavy-lift helicopter will be used to blow the snow off the bridge's cables.

With more snow in the forecast for this weekend, government engineers have settled on a novel plan to minimize further weather-related closures of the Alex Fraser Bridge: using a helicopter to blow the snow away.

According to a press release issued Friday afternoon by B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, in the event that snow and ice accumulates and engineers determine there is a risk to public safety, a heavy-lift helicopter will be deployed whose rotors will create strong blasts of wind that will blow the snow accumulations off of the cables.

The helicopter is only a temporary solution as the ministry works on developing a longer-term solution.

Last week, the province’s engineers had to close the Alex Fraser Bridge two times due to snow and ice falling from the bridge’s cables. Both times, the bridge was closed for over four hours, delaying motorists and adding congestion to other routes.

It’s estimated using a helicopter to blow the snow off the cables should reduce the inconvenience by cutting closure times to about two or three hours while the work is being done to clear the snow.

The press release says a combination of factors led to the Alex Fraser Bridge closures on Saturday, Dec. 10, and on Monday. Dec. 12.

First, a large amount of snow accumulated on the cables, then the cycling of temperatures and wind direction increased the likelihood of shedding snow and ice. Most years, there is very little snow or the snow blows off without accumulating.

Meanwhile on the Port Mann Bridge, crews have been performing multiple snow-clearing drops on the bridge’s 288 cables and traffic has been flowing safely and smoothly on this bridge as a result. Over the weekend, crews will continue these snow-clearing drops as necessary.

Metro Vancouver drivers are reminded to expect winter weather conditions on the roads, to drive carefully, to increase following distance to at least four seconds, and to check drivebc.ca for regular updates on their routes.

The ministry will also continue to keep the driving public informed of any traffic control activities via Twitter, DriveBC and digital message signs.

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

Just Posted

Chilliwack volunteer drivers are needed to help get cancer patients back and forth to Abbotsford (shown here), Surrey and Vancouver cancer clinics. (Abbotsford News file photo)
Volunteer drivers needed to expand cancer driver program to Chilliwack

Drivers will need to commit to one full day of driving, or two half days each week

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 9

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

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

An injection kit is seen inside a Fraser Health supervised consumption site is pictured in Surrey, B.C., Tuesday, June 6, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Hope’s high rate of drug overdose noted in BC Coroners Service report

Up-to-date numbers not available yet for 2021, but Fraser Health deaths on the rise

Screenshot from security footage a young, thin cougar prowling on Oliver Crescent in Sardis on May 7, 2021. (Dustin Meyer photo)
VIDEO: Cougar sighting in residential Chilliwack neighbourhood prompts warning

Springtime cougar sightings likely due to cats following deer down to valley floor, says CO

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Pieces of nephrite jade are shown at a mine site in northwestern B.C. in July 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Tahltan Central Government MANDATORY CREDIT
Indigenous nation opposes jade mining in northwestern B.C.

B.C.’s Mines Act requires operators to prepare a plan to protect cultural heritage resources

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country’s crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
IHIT investigating after man killed in Burnaby shooting

Police looking for more information on fatal shooting

After Bobby Henderson apologized online for his comments to a Toronto reporter, the Langley Rivermen announced that he was no longer team coach and general manager and in fact, had ‘parted ways’ with the franchise in March. (file/Twitter)
Former Langley Rivermen coach and GM apologizes for comments to Toronto reporter

Bobby Henderson blames stress due to the pandemic for his ‘disparaging’ remarks

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

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Most Read