Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Port Mann bridge is void of traffic during rush hour in Coquitlam, British Columbia on December 19, 2012. Falling ice chunks which reportedly hit cars caused the RCMP to close the bridge temporarily.

The Crown corporation behind the new Port Mann Bridge will conduct a review after large chunks of ice fell from its overhead cables, injuring at least two people and damaging a handful of cars on the first day of heavy snowfall in B.C.'s Lower Mainland.

Mounties closed the $3.3-billion bridge, which just opened early this month, at 2 p.m. Wednesday after receiving reports of falling ice denting car hoods and smashing through windshields. It remained closed through the afternoon.

Professional golfer James Lepp was heading eastbound along the bridge in early afternoon when he encountered the plunging pieces. "They were falling from way up and they were landing on the road, on the maintenance road – these big old bombs going off," he said. "They were hitting vehicles, but I thought, 'Oh, it's just snow. It won't do anything.' Sure enough, just as I was almost off the bridge, one hit my mirror and took it off."

Story continues below advertisement

Some pieces of falling snow and ice were as wide as four feet across, Mr. Lepp said.

Motorist David Pensato described "large slush boulders raining down on vehicles below" – one of which shattered his windshield.

In a similar position was Sharon Hiemstra, who posted to Twitter a photo of what she said was her husband's car, crossing the Port Mann Bridge around 1:40 p.m. Chunks of ice appeared to have smashed through the vehicle's windshield, coming to rest on the dashboard.

At a news conference late Wednesday afternoon, Transportation Investment Corporation CEO Mike Proudfoot said the bridge is fully compliant with the Canadian Bridge Highway Design Code. However, he acknowledged the failure of the coated overhead cables, which were supposed to prevent ice accumulation by drawing snow and rain down the cables and off the bridge.

"It didn't work today," he said, noting specialists will be looking into the reason why. He described Wednesday's weather as "a very special type of winter storm."

By the end of the business day, the Insurance Corp. of B.C. had received 60 claims related to the Port Mann Bridge. It cannot be assumed all of those claims are related to falling ice, but the majority likely are, said ICBC spokesman Adam Grossman.

The Transportation Investment Corporation is already in contact with the insurance provider and will be reviewing each case individually. "Clearly, the motorists are not at fault in these kinds of circumstances," Mr. Proudfoot said.

Story continues below advertisement

At least two people were injured by the falling ice, with one requiring ambulance attendance, said B.C. RCMP spokesman Sergeant Peter Thiessen. Between five and seven cars were confirmed to be damaged. "That's not to say the numbers won't increase, but right now, that's what we're aware of," he said.

At least six people posted to Twitter photos of what was purported to be damage to their vehicles caused by falling ice on the bridge.

The Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State was closed for more than six hours last January following reports of ice falling from the structure.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies