View the printer-friendly version of this release.
Province of British Columbia
For Immediate Release
Dec. 16, 2016
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Ministry identifies chopper as temporary solution for snow clearing

VANCOUVER – With more winter weather predicted for the Lower Mainland over the weekend, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is further strengthening its strategy for maintaining safe travel over the Alex Fraser Bridge.

In order to maintain safe and efficient travel over the bridge for all vehicles, the ministry will use a heavy-lift helicopter to clear the cables as needed. If snow and ice accumulates and engineers determine there is a risk to public safety, the ministry will deploy the helicopter. The rotors will create strong blasts of wind that will blow the snow accumulations off the cables.

In the last week, the Province’s engineers have had to make the decision to close the Alex Fraser Bridge two times in the interest of the public’s safety. Both times, the bridge was closed for over four hours, delaying motorists and adding congestion to other routes. This temporary measure should allow the ministry to reduce the inconvenience caused by a bridge closure, cutting closure times to about two to three hours in duration while the work is being done to clear the snow.

This is a temporary solution, as the ministry works on developing a longer-term solution for the Alex Fraser Bridge during winter conditions.

A combination of factors led to the Alex Fraser Bridge closures on Saturday, Dec. 10, and on Monday Dec. 12. The first was a large amount of snow accumulating on the cables. Most years, there is very little snow or the snow blows off without accumulating. The second factor was the cycling of temperatures and wind direction, which increases the likelihood of shedding snow and ice.

On the Port Mann Bridge, crews have been performing multiple snow-clearing drops on the bridge’s 288 cables, to clear away snow and slush. These snow-clearing measures have proven effective. 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 for regular updates on their routes:

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

Learn More:

Follow DriveBC on Twitter: @DriveBC

Follow TranBC on Twitter: @TranBC

Media Contact:
Media Relations
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
250 356-8241

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: