Following last week's incident involving the Port Mann Bridge and ice falling from the support cables onto commuters' cars, B.C.'s Minister of Transportation, Mary Polak, has said taxpayers will not be on the hook for any future bridge upgrades.
"What we saw occur on the Port Mann was absolutely unacceptable and it shouldn't have happened," Polak said at a news conference the day after the Dec. 19 incident.
The announcement came a day after the Port Mann Bridge was temporarily closed due to large chunks of ice falling from the support cables onto cars below during last week's wintery conditions. It is estimated nearly 200 vehicles were damaged. Two people were also injured.
According to Polak, the issue at hand is not the responsibility of the province to correct, but that of the contractor, Keiwit-Flatiron. Polak said the company did not meet stipulations in its contract that said ice and snow falling on traffic would not be a concern and as such, would be paying any costs to upgrade the bridge further.
"The taxpayer will not be on the hook for this," she said. "We will not live with the bridge in that way."
Mike Proudfoot, CEO of Transportation Investment Corp., the Crown Corporation that operates the bridge, said it would be covering the cost of the damages for commuters, as well as waiving tolls for those who drove across between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. that day.
Kiewit-Flatiron released a statement the following day, saying it was looking into identifying the problem and a solution.
With files from Vancouver Sun