UPDATE: Alex Fraser Bridge has reopened to traffic; Port Mann remains closed, but may reopen later this morning (Dec. 24) and SkyTrain service has returned to normal.
Original story continues below
With the Lower Mainland hit by another winter wallop Friday (Dec. 23) , both the Alex Fraser and Port Mann Bridges have been closed to all traffic.
DriveBC announced the Port Mann Bridge’s closure Friday morning in a tweet at 10:13 a.m., quickly following up with another tweet at 10:26 a.m. announcing that the Alex Fraser Bridge was also closed due to winter conditions.
Both bridges have been closed due to the risk of ice falling from cables onto vehicles.
Ice has formed on the bridge cables due to the freezing rain, according to a release from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
A witness reported a multi-vehicle crash in the southbound lanes around the time the closure of the bridge was announced.
The bridges will remain closed to traffic until weather conditions improve with warmer temperatures, but an estimated re-opening time for the bridges is not yet known.
Motorists on both bridges will be directed to detour routes until the crossings are re-opened, the release states.
For highways, Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting LP have their full fleet of plows ready to go, a release states.
“We want to assure motorists that the plows are actively working and ask that you provide them with plenty of space as large volumes of snow and ice are being removed from the highway surface. Stay well back of a working plow and never pass a plow on the right side.”
The company also stresses the importance for residents to remove all snow and ice from their vehicles before driving them, if absolutely necessary to travel, with residents of the Lower Mainland being advised to stay home and avoid all non-essential travel.
“Anyone who is venturing out in these conditions should have a properly equipped vehicle as well as pack additional clothing/food/water so that they are prepared if they become stuck somewhere,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn of Surrey RCMP.
People appear to be getting the message.
As of Friday morning, Surrey RCMP had not had any major motor vehicle incidents reported to them.
Throughout the city, roads are being salted and cleared on a 24-hour basis, Matt Brown, streets manager for the City of Surrey’s engineering department, confirmed to Black Press Media.
Just drove across Vancouver. I have all wheel drive and snow tires. If you don’t, I highly recommend you stay out of this massive slurpee covering the roads. Plenty of cars struggling out here.— Gregor Young (@GregorYoung) December 23, 2022
“We have 55 pieces of equipment on the road, clearing the roads and responding to any ice concerns. We’re very fortunate for this event that it didn’t accumulate to the amount they forecasted. They were saying between 12 to 24 centimetres of snow and we got about 5 centimetres in Surrey,” Brown said.
However, like police, the city is advising residents to only travel if essential and with vehicles properly equipped for the winter conditions.
Collisions reported to White Rock RCMP have been minor, with no one sustaining any injuries, said police.
“If you don’t have snow tires and winter driving experience, please do not drive, but rather take a ride share, taxi or public transit,” reads a statement from White Rock RCMP Const. Chantal Sears.
The city’s steepest roads, including Oxford Street, north of Marine Drive, have been closed to traffic since the snowstorm that blanketed the Lower Mainland earlier this week.
City staff have been focusing on clearing arterial and bus routes ahead of side streets, Kaelin Nelson, communications coordinator for City of White Rock told Black Press Media.
“Warmer temperatures and rain are helping to melt snow and allow staff and equipment to gain access to plow more areas. However, some areas with compact snow have turned to ice and present further challenges.
“With extended rain in the forecast, crews are hoping to open more roads soon but are weather and safety dependent. City crews will continue to keep working where they can safely. Road conditions appear to be changing hourly,” Nelson said.
Solid waste collection has also been impacted by the weather conditions, with crews working where possible but collection has been delayed by one day. If collection is missed for residents, they will have to wait until the next collection cycle for pick-up, Nelson said.
TransLink is also encouraging residents to avoid travel, as SkyTrain is also being heavily impacted by a build-up of ice.
Multiple stations are closed, including Braid, Sapperton, Scott Road, Gateway, Surrey Central and King George. The Expo Line was previously halted, but is now moving between Waterfront and Columbia stations, states a release from TransLink.
“The Millenium Line is experiencing significant delays, with no service currently between Lougheed and Burquitlam stations.”
Additionally, there is no service between Bridgeport and Richmond-Brighouse stations on the Canada Line.
For up-to-date information about provincial road conditions, visit www.DriveBC.ca