It only took a cursory look to find the information needed for this post, a story about ice build up on bridge surfaces but after reviewing the data and thinking about it, there is a much bigger story hidden, lurking, snatching lives and stealing futures, mourning families and victims litter our province, and it can be prevented, and or at least, reduced..
Why do bridges ice before the rest of the highway?On a cold, rainy day, ice forms more quickly on bridges and overpasses for two reasons:
- The freezing wind strikes the bridge above and below and on both sides, so it's losing heat from every side. The road is only losing heat from its surface. Even while the temperature on the road surface is dropping, the heat underneath the road keeps it warm enough to prevent icing as temperatures in the atmosphere drop below freezing. Bridges have no way to trap any heat, so they will continually lose heat and freeze shortly after temperatures in the atmosphere hit the freezing point.
- Most bridges today are built with steel and concrete, both of which are good heat conductors. Because these materials conduct heat, any heat that the bridge has moves through the bridge to the surface where the heat is lost through the air flow around it. Roads are mostly made from asphalt, which is a poor conductor of heat, and that lessens the rate of heat loss from the road.
The Oregon State Department of Transportation advises motorists to slow down when approaching bridges and overpasses while traveling in cold weather. Often times you can't see the ice on the road, and it may be hidden beneath a thin blanket of snow. If, while traveling over a bridge, your car feels like it's floating, you should gradually slow down to maintain control of the vehicle. Never slam on your brakes.
So now we know that any road maintenance contractor is well aware of these basic facts too, and I don`t know about you, but I have seen these signs all over Vancouver island as you approach bridges and man-made crossings..
Bridges often accumulate ice before roads do.
Do Vancouver drivers speed, yea, like all drivers in all countries people travel too fast for road conditions, speed limit signs post speeds of travel, those limits apply to dry streets with full visibility, not to foggy slippery streets, but human nature will always push and there is no vehicle guage that tells you how much to slowdown in less than optimum conditions.
However, this was not the case, when we have bad streets and highways cars and trucks would have slid off the roads on either side of the Port Mann bridge too, in other words, it someone was off the highway in Langley, Abbotsford, Clearbrook, if motorists had seen carnage and slippage well before the Port Mann bridge natural instincts take over(for most) and speed of travel slows..
Drivers did not start their journey Thursday morning on the bridge deck, drivers, many had driven 10 miles, 20, 40, 60 miles before arriving at the Port Mann bridge and roads conditions were fair to good, not until drivers laid rubber on the Port Mann bridge did they encounter hidden black ice..Whammo, 40 cars in accidents between 6:00 am and 7:00 am...The road surface on the bridge froze...
Now one would think that after the ice-bomb incident the Government wouldn`t want to receive another black-eye...You`ld be wrong...
The British Columbia corporation in charge of the bridge was slow to comment on the cause of today`s icing up incident, they finally spoke..
Port Mann Bridge not sufficiently de-iced
40 vehicles involved in crashes, according to police
Officials say the new Port Mann Bridge — which saw a slew of accidents Thursday morning, including one 10-car pile-up — wasn't sufficiently de-iced.Max Logan with the Transportation Investment Corporation, the company that runs the bridge, said the brine solution used to de-ice the bridge wasn't strong enough.
The solution should have lasted about 48 hours, but it stopped being effective at about 5 a.m. PT.
Logan said the bridge was monitored six times between 10 p.m. Wednesday and 5 a.m. Thursday, and the ice built up some time between 5 and 6 a.m.
However, that was just one factor that led to the accidents which backed up traffic in both directions during the morning commute.
Logan said motorists driving too fast for the conditions and limited visibility due to fog also contributed.
There it is, the corporation is blaming the sub-contractor for using a road de-icing brine that was too weak, ....Or did they?
Not really, that little statement from our BC Liberal Government is all over the map, actually, the statement from Government has multiple excuses
They state the brine wasn`t strong enough.
They state that the brine should have lasted 48 hours..
They state the brine suddenly stopped being effective at 5am..
They state drivers were going too fast and visibility and fog were contributing factors also.
What a load of bullshit, did anybody get speeding tickets?, charged with reckless driving, driving without due care and control?
The answer to that is no, this was pure incompetence on behalf of the road maintenance contractor, or is it, roads and bridges have been salted for decades, this is not new technology..
This exposes the bigger problem, a micro-example of conditions on our roads and highways province wide..Outsourcing road maintenance,
When the ministry of highways was in house, when the BC Government and Government employees maintained all the roads in the Province every road was maintained not to minimum standards but maintained to levels of safety...
Roads crews worked 24/7 around the province, main highways and bi-ways had 24/7 road crews, roads were salted, pot holes got fixed, the workers weren`t thinking about the cost their aim was safety, it didn`t matter..
But along came right-wing British Columbia Social Credit and BC Liberal Governments who privatized/outsourced road maintenance and road safety, road standards on the Coquihalla highway and numerous other highways are deplorable, under maintained and have more accidents, more tragic accidents all because Governments thought they could save money, it still isn`t clear if outsourcing road maintenance saves Governments any money, but one thing has been proven, maintenance contractor`s bottom line is profits, and profits increase by doing as little as possible, this practice has led to the deaths of countless people, shattered countless lives..
And what happened today is proof of just that, look at what was said, brine wasn`t strong enough, brine stopped working right at morning rush hour 5:00am , brine should have lasted 48 hours....Which is it, there are three excuses in 1 paragraph...
The Port Mann corporation claims this will never happen again, weather reports are the same tonight as last evening, evening and morning fog with temperatures falling to freezing level.
What this incident and the ice bomb incident proves is the Port Mann was built to minimum standards, ice and snow built up on cables and fell on workers building the Port Mann bridge, the builders knew this was an issue but because of money they did nothing but hoped and prayed, other bridges built with cables have had these ice-bombs incidents as well, the builder, Kiewit flatiron group took a chance by not installing heat on the cables or employing other techniques to prevent ice and snow build up, why???..MONEY MONEY MONEY
It`s apparently in their contract, was Kiewit Flatiron gambling on global warming, or no snow, Mary Polak said on air that the responsibility for ice and snow build up was in Kiewit`s contract, so why did they cheap out?....Mary Polak and the Port Mann bridge BC Crown corporation are again blaming another contractor, a sub-contractor..
News flash, when you outsource road maintenance, when you outsource hospital cleaning, when you leave the decision making and constructing of ice build-up preventative measures into a $2 billion dollar bridge at the discretion of the builder, road de-icing at the discretion of the road-maintenance contractor, hospital cleaning hours at the discretion of the outsourcee, when a company makes more money by doing less, whereas a contractor loses more money and or makes less money by doing more work or more needed maintenance, you set up a scenario where the least amount of work is done to maximize profits, and that situation kills, and British Columbia is lucky no one was killed today, very very lucky..
Human nature, like those drivers they say were driving too fast for road conditions, human nature, when your boss hollers at you for doing your job, when profit motives outweigh safety requirements..
Human nature, our big snowfall 2 weeks ago, all through the lower mainland main arteries like Boundary road, Broadway, Grandview highway, hastings and many many more were untouched, no plowing, cities like Vancouver make choices to spend as little as possible on sand, on salt, wear and tear on vehicles, if cities don`t have to plow they won`t, they push the limit of what`s safe..
Remember the Aveos/Aeroman story we broke, outsourcing maintenance, it`s the same issue, read this shocker about Boeing, a story about shocking outsourcing results as to maintenance, and you`ll see the story leads directly to what Air Canada is doing(with Stephen Treason Harper`s blessing and help) in El Salvador