SURREY (NEWS1130) – The province believes cable sweepers are believed to be the solution to ice-bombs accumulating on the Port Mann Bridge.

The sweepers fit on the actual cables; they are raised and lowered to brush off snow and ice as they build up. A hundred and fifty-two sweepers will be installed according to TI Corp CEO Mike Proudfoot.

“And they will move at a speed of approximately 200 feet per minute. Their deployment will begin as soon as snow begins to accumulate. Last week was a good opportunity to test the sweepers, while we received only a little snow. We saw the brushes were removing it as intended.”

The sweepers would be operated by eight winches and some man power is required.

In addition, a “hydrophobic” coating and a de-icing solution will also be applied. Engineers will be testing the coatings in a wide range of of severe winter conditions trying to provide a realistic assessment of how effective it would be. They will also try and see if the coating would affect the wind loading and aerodynamics of the cables.

A cable sweeper for the Port Mann Bridge (image shown to the media in a conference room)

The de-icing solution engineers will be using is non-corrosive and environmentally friendly. It is similar to solutions used to prevent ice buildup on planes and ocean-going ships.

Depending on the testing, the silicone coating will be applied during the summer during warm and dry conditions.

No cost to these measures have been announced yet. “There is no dollar figure at this stage,” says Transportation Minister Mary Polak.

“Our focus has been on finding these solutions and implementing them,” she tells us.

“But [the contractor] has been absolutely cooperative,” she adds. “They have funded the development and the construction of the different resources.”

She maintains taxpayers will not be on the hook.

Forty cars crashed on black ice earlier this month. More than a hundred cars were damaged when snow and ice fell from the 152 bridge cables on December 19th.

(Courtesy: Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project)