The City of Victoria will be conducting a formal safety review after a man was seen hanging from the elevated bridge on Friday, July 19. (Nicole Cresenzi/News Staff)

Victoria to review safety after man left hanging from raised bridge

More and more people seen ignoring safety measurements in place, city staff say

The City of Victoria will conduct a safety review after a man was left hanging on the Johnson Street Bridge after it was raised on Friday evening.

An investigation by the Victoria Police found that the intoxicated man deliberately ignored the bridge safety warnings, and was stuck for the duration of a raise about a quarter of the way up from the east side. The man held on by bracing his legs around the railing. The bridge had to finish its course, as a barge was passing underneath and couldn’t be stopped.

For Fraser Work, director of engineering and public works for the City of Victoria, this was a near-miss that is becoming more common.

READ MORE: Victoria Police issue warning after man left dangling from raised Johnson Street Bridge

“We’re seeing more and more people that are choosing to cross the bridge after the warnings have started because they don’t want to be inconvenienced,” Work said. “We really want to deter that type of behaviour, because it puts a lot of strain on a lot of safety measures and things we’re trying to protect.”

Presently, bridge operators have a layered safety protocol which includes communicating with the harbour master, alerting emergency services that the bridge is going up, flashing warning lights, putting down barricades and running audio announcements before any bridge movement happens. The operators also have cameras along the bridge, and a public announcement system to directly address someone.

If there’s enough time in a situation, operators can contact the tug boats and hope there’s enough space for oncoming vessels to redirect or slow down. However, if someone makes a last-second attempt to get on the bridge it can be difficult, if not impossible, to stop things from happening.

ALSO READ: Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

“These are very large heavy machines that are difficult to redirect,” Work said. “If someone chooses to hop out or sneak around the guard … at the end of the day there’s only so many checks operators can make.”

Work said that a similar safety review was conducted in December 2018 when an intoxicated man climbed on the railing of the Johnson Street Bridge before fatally falling into the water.

Works said minor things were changed after this incident, including the addition of a life ring into the operator’s shack, the redirection of some lighting and an adjustment to camera angles.

Work expects this review to take approximately two weeks, but is not sure if many changes will be seen.

“There’s lights, barricades, announcements and there’s the bell,” he said. “You’re not supposed to put yourself in that position. The question comes what’s prudent … I can’t protect someone if they deliberately put themselves in harm’s way.”

The City of Victoria as well as the Victoria Police Department are asking the public to follow all safety warnings and signs when approaching the Johnson Street Bridge.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

Just Posted

Kodiaks captain who championed the PJHL is back, this time as head coach

Aldergrove’s Chris Price, 30, returns to his hometown to lead the team once again

Former Langley resident ‘bounces around genres’ with death-pop record

Skeleton Club releases debut album Death, Love & Money.

Provincial award proves that local motivational speaker is not your average Joe

Langley resident Joe Roberts earns Medal of Good Citizenship, one of 18 recipients in B.C.

Langley literacy group spends $11,000 on new books for kids at Christmas bureau

Bureau’s Gifts for Kids tree is no longer at Willowbrook mall

Operation Red Nose Surrey-Langley could close for rest of season due to lack of volunteers

Organizers say they are struggling to keep up with high call numbers and long wait times

VIDEO: Kenney lays out key demands for meeting with Trudeau

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney aims for clear signs of federal action on two-day Ottawa trip

Province sues over sailing incident that killed teen with disabilities

Gabriel Pollard, 16, died from injuries after marine lift failed

Hope’s illicit drug death rate rivals Vancouver

Small Fraser Valley district listed among top five per capita in B.C.

First Nations want Big Bar landslide cleared ASAP to allow fish passage

Leadership calling for urgent action and resources to remove obstruction on the Fraser

Assessed value of Lower Mainland homes expected to decrease in 2020

Other areas of province may see modest increases over last year’s values

15-year-old charged following threat to South Surrey high school

Police announce pair of teens arrested for Nov. 14 incident at Elgin Park Secondary

TransLink CEO ‘hopeful’ SkyTrain shutdown can be averted with last-minute deal

No extra buses will be on the roads if strike goes ahead

Chilliwack family’s therapy dog injured in hit and run

Miniature pit bull Fifty’s owner is a single mother facing close to $10,000 in vet bills

Cougar destroyed in Penticton area after mauling dog, killing cat

This is the first reported incident with a cougar this year in the Penticton area

Most Read