Snow plows were out to deal with a harsh winter in the Lower Mainland last years. (Black Press files)

Province stockpiles extra snow clearing supplies for Lower Mainland

Transportation ministry has 900,000 litres of brine and over 8,000 cubic metres of salt ready

After a harsh winter in Metro Vancouver last year, the province believes it’s prepared for this season’s snow.

According to the transportation ministry, provincial contractor Mainland used about 3,200 cubic metres of salt and 900,000 litres of brine across Metro Vancouver for the 2016/17 season.

That’s a whopping 1,000 per cent more salt than the province used in the region in 2015/16 and just over twice the brine.

For this year, they have that plus an additional 5,000 cubic metres of salt in reserve.

Last winter, the province introduced a standby helicopter to clear ice and snow off the Alex Fraser Bridge after drivers reported ‘ice bombs’ falling off the bridge and onto their cars.

READ: Falling ice smashes windshields on Lower Mainland bridges

At the time, ICBC said 100 people reported ice or snow-caused damage to their cars, forcing the ministry to close the bridge for a couple of days.

The Alex Fraser Bridge, which the ministry noted had not been a concern in past years, will be outfitted with cable collars similar to those on the Port Mann Bridge this December.

However, despite the Port Mann’s cable collars, more than 50 people claimed ice and snow-related damage with ICBC during the 2016/17 season.

Clearing snow and ice off the two bridges last year cost the province $5 million total; $1 million for the Alex Fraser and $4 million for the Port Mann.

The province’s annual maintenance budget for the region averages out to $14.5 million; it was $14.6 million in 2015, $14.5 million in 2016 and will be $14.7 million this year.


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