The so-called “ice bombs” that fell on Friday from the Vancouver Metro bridges have been blamed for 67 insurance claims so far, according to ICBC.
The Crown corporation told CTV News that it received 41 claims related to the ice fall on the Port Mann bridge, plus another 24 from the Alex Fraser bridge and two from the Golden Ears bridge.
ICBC said that anyone whose vehicle was damaged by the ice fall should report it to the insurer’s claim marking line at 1-800-910-4222.
The ice has already resulted in a “significant increase in call volume,” a spokesman said in an email.
The danger forced authorities to close the Alex Fraser bridge around 10:30 a.m., trapping some drivers on the bridge deck until the bridge was reopened an hour later.
Const. Omar Hamidi of the RCMP Low Continent Traffic Services told CTV News that the icefall left the windshields of some drivers “virtually destroyed” and said the shutdown was necessary to protect public safety.
“We’ve had a lot of sleet … just falling and landing in vehicles while driving,” Hamidi said.
A driver who was trapped on the bridge during the closure said he wished there was a better winter backup plan so drivers wouldn’t get caught.
The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure of B.C. He said staff have been monitoring conditions at the Alex Fraser and Port Mann bridges, and will continue to do so until the storm passes.
“There is currently very little accumulation in the cables on both bridges,” the ministry said in an email statement. “We will investigate the combination of conditions that may have contributed to this happening.”
Authorities said they expect all lanes on both bridges to be open for Friday afternoon’s rush hour.
Hoping to mitigate the risk of so-called “ice bombs,” the province installed a cable collar system at Alex Fraser in 2018 that was intended to clean the snow and prevent vehicles from being damaged by ice fall. .
The system includes 10 collars, but they require manual operation by cable access technicians to clear the cables.
Before they were installed, the transport ministry used other creative approaches to clear the cables, including a helicopter that flew overhead to fly snow and ice on at least one occasion in 2016.
The Port Mann bridge has faced similar problems in previous years and also has snow cleaning collars on each of its 288 cables. They were installed in 2012 after about 350 vehicles were damaged by the ice fall.
Before December 2016, at least 145 insurance claims had been filed by drivers whose windshields were hit by ice bombs on the two bridges. Around 90 of them were for incidents on the Alex Fraser bridge alone.
With files from Allison Hurst of CTV News Vancouver