Port Mann Bridge “ice bomb prevention system” debuts during today’s snowy weather

The Port Mann Bridge’s cable collars debuted today – a low tech solution to help remove the buildup of ice and snow that resulted in 350 ICBC claims this time last year.

ICBC ended up paying out $400,000 worth of glass claims after vehicles were struck by the falling ice bombs. There were even a few injury claims.

Several solutions were proposed, from ski wax to teflon, and a cable sweeper or de-icing before the cable collars solution was found.

Each ring weighs approximately 10 kilograms and is released manually from the top of the tower. It clears snow as it travels down the cable.

Today’s snow storm offered the first opportunity to test out the collars in snowy conditions and they appear to be working. No “snow or ice bomb” incidents have been reported on the bridge today.

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“We’ve got a series of collars around the top of everyone of the cables and they will be released one at a time to remove any accumulation of ice and snow,” Mike Proudfoot, Transportation Investment Corp CEO told Global BC in November. “There will be a hanger at the top with up to 30 of these chains at a time and the operator will, from a remote control, drop one of them as the snow storm arises and the accumulation starts.”

After the collars slide down the cables, they are manually taken off at the bottom and transported back to the top by an elevator that’s built into the bridge’s tower.

In addition to the cable collars, a new weather station is now operating at the top of the south tower.

The Transportation Investment Corporation says the unexpected expense of the cable collars has been paid for by the builder of the bridge.

Video: Snow caused all kinds of chaos on the south coast today. Geoff Hastings takes a look at the traffic mayhem across the Lower  Mainland.