BC government testing snow and ice collar-drop removal system for Alex Fraser Bridge

Feb 2 2017, 12:13 am

A similar snow and ice removal system that is used on the Port Mann Bridge could also be used for the Alex Fraser Bridge.

According to a press release, the provincial government has been testing the gravity-assisted collar-drop system on the suspension bridge cables of the Alex Fraser Bridge since Sunday. Testing will continue through today and tomorrow during late night and early morning hours and necessitate single-lane closures on the northbound direction.

A total of 40 collars are manually dropped from the top of the cables. It requires specialized rope access technicians who will attach and drop the cables from the top of the bridge pier.

But such a system cannot simply be replicated from the Port Mann Bridge as the cables on the Alex Fraser Bridge run parallel to the traffic lanes, not over them. As well, the cables on the Alex Fraser Bridge are a much smaller diameter and configured at different angles.

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“This is the first test to be conducted while engineers continue to work on researching and evaluating other feasible systems for clearing snow on bridge cables,” reads the release.

“Any snow-clearing solutions would have to consider a number of factors, including design and angle of cables, and the configuration of the cross-beams and towers.”

If the system proves to be a feasible solution to the snow and ice buildup issues on the Alex Fraser Bridge cables, it could be implemented during future snowfall events to clear snow and ice.

Issues over falling snow and ice from the Alex Fraser Bridge arose from Metro Vancouver’s snowfall events earlier this winter, damaging a number of vehicles.

Another solution the provincial government has been exploring revolves around hiring a private helicopter to blow snow and ice from the cables.

Forecasters say more snow could fall in Metro Vancouver beginning Friday through early next week.

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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