With snow in the forecast for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley this week, transportation officials are gearing up for possible trouble on the roads.
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Metro Vancouver warning of possible flurries on Thursday and more wintry weather to follow.
A snowfall warning is in effect for the Fraser Valley, with between five and 10 centimetres expected to pile up by Tuesday night.
Global BC meteorologist Kristi Gordon says just how much of the white stuff will fall depends on where you live.
“At this point we are expecting the rain to transition to snow in the Lower Mainland. We will see anywhere from Zero to five centimetres across lower elevation regions,” she said.
“Higher elevation regions can see five centimetres or more, those higher elevation areas include SFU, Westwood Plateau, the North Shore Mountains as well. But also the Fraser Valley, by the end of the day, some could see five to 15 centimetres.”
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TransLink is keeping a close eye on weather conditions, and has crews on standby if the winter weather gets bad.
“We’ve done a lot of things to prepare for this,” said spokesperson Chris Bryan.
“Things like looking at all the trees along the SkyTrain guideway to make sure that there are no branches that can be blown with heavy snow or ice. We also can put out extra staff to man our trains if necessary.”
Bryan said trolley-wire de-icing trucks and SkyTrain de-icing equipment are also in place.
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But passengers should also dress warmly, plan for delays and be ready to leave early to ensure they arrive at their destinations on time, Bryan said.
“We always encourage our customers to give themselves extra time if the conditions are poor.”
Earlier this fall, TransLink unveiled a suite of winter weather preparations — after last year’s particularly icy blast.
Those measures included new heat tracing on SkyTrain power rails and cover boards to prevent snow buildup.
The transit authority is also rolling out a new “tire sock” pilot project for buses travelling to and from Burnaby Mountain to help them grip the road on the steep grade to Simon Fraser University.
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Maintenance crews are on standby with winter weather rolling in, the Ministry of Transportation (MoT) said.
Snow and ice technicians will be in place at the Port Mann Bridge, where outside lanes may need to be temporarily closed, in the case of snow, to reload cable collars used to remove ice buildup, the ministry said.
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Crossbeams on the Alex Fraser bridge will be regularly de-iced, the MoT added.
However, earlier this fall, the ministry said a new cable collar system like the one in place on the Port Mann Bridge isn’t expected to be ready until the new year.
Tow trucks and ploughs will also be on standby at both bridges to clear snow buildup and potential traffic incidents, it said.