VANCOUVER _ British Columbia’s transportation minister says more needs to be done to prevent chunks of ice falling from Metro Vancouver’s bridges and damaging vehicles.
A winter storm brought more than five centimetres of snow to the region Monday and there were numerous reports of snow and ice falling from bridges, leaving vehicles with cracked windshields and dented roofs.
“We’re very thankful that no one was hurt during these incidents, but we’re not happy at all that vehicles were damaged by falling snow and ice,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.
He said the Insurance Corporation of B.C. has received 40 claims from people whose vehicles were damaged. Ten of the claims came from drivers who were travelling over the Port Mann Bridge between Surrey and Coquitlam, and 30 from motorists going over the Alex Fraser Bridge, which spans New Westminster and Delta.
Stone said the province will pay the insurance deductibles for all of the damaged vehicles, but it’s too soon to say what the cost will be because more drivers could still come forward.
Similar incidents were reported on the Port Mann Bridge in 2012, shortly after it opened. Devices were later installed on each of the bridge’s 288 cables to drop down and clear snow and slush in wintry weather. They were in operation Monday.
A de-icing spray was used to try and keep snow and ice off the towers and cross beam of the Alex Fraser Bridge, but staff are now investigating what else should have been done.
“I want to say very clearly to the people of British Columbia that we can and we will do better,” Stone said.
Another snow storm is scheduled to hit the region Thursday. Stone said, among other things, monitoring is being increased on the bridges.