First heavy snowfall of the year for Vancouver and the Lower Mainland has the roads covered in snow, slush and black ice. But one unexpected turn of events this winter for Vancouverites has been the ice bombs dropping onto vehicles traversing the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges. So far to date, ICBC says they have received over 40 calls from drivers claiming to have their cars damaged by the falling ice and snow while driving over the two bridges. Transportation Minister Todd Stone is attempting to explain the ice bomb situation on the bridges, "we're very concerned by the damage to vehicles yesterday from falling snow and ice." He also stated that investigations are underway as to why this was allowed to happen. Stone also said crews had the bridges prepared for a light snow but not the heavy snowfall that fell on Monday. He did acknowledge that it is possible the "de-icer should have been applied more frequently."
Stone has also said the government will pay the deductible for people with vehicle damage from the falling ice and snow on the bridges. ICBC claims most of the damage appears to be windshield damage and a few for hood or roof damage. Vehicle owners must first contact ICBC to start the claim and then contact the Ministry of Transportation to receive payment for the deductible. TI Corp., the company that operates the Port Mann Bridge, will be reimbursing tolls paid by cars damaged on Monday. A gesture that is too light to compensate for their lack of preparation and planning. Stone has brought in additional crews to fully prepare the bridges for safe travel if snow starts to fall again. The work crews have been applying anti-icing solutions on the crossbeams of the Alex Fraser bridge's towers all day. The purpose of the anti-icing solutions is to reduce the chance of build up of ice and snow on the crossbeams.
Although there are preemptive measures in place for more snow, should the chance of heavy snowfall happen again, there will be a possibility of temporary closure of the bridge. Crews will be monitoring the bridge throughout the night and should safety be of concern, they will close the bridge. The heaviest snowfall in two years has left the Lower Mainland a shortage of salt and ice melt in stores. People are advised to not travel if they are not prepared for the snow this weekend. Transit is an option of residents need to travel. TransLink is running deicing trains and applying glycerin to 300 kilometers of trolley wire to try and keep their service on track.