NEWS

Forecasting could be to blame for Port Mann troubles

01/09/2013 12:54 EST | Updated 03/11/2013 05:12 EDT
The way weather is forecast for B.C. highways could be part of the reason behind two weather-related incidents since the new Port Mann Bridge opened last month.

In early December, the bridge was closed after ice bombs fell on cars from cables high above the bridge deck. Earlier this month, dozens of cars were caught in accidents because of extremely icy conditions.

Mainroad Contracting, which looks after the Port Mann Bridge and many other highways throughout the province, relies on Environment Canada and a private meteorological consulting company based in Washington for weather forecasts.

NorthWest WeatherNet has one office in B.C., which is responsible for customized forecasts relating to 75 per cent of highway maintenance in the province.

The office is staffed by a single person and when that office is closed, local road reports come from forecasters in Seattle.

Local weather authorities say given today’s technology, it is feasible for one person to monitor the province's roadways — but say given B.C.'s array of elevations and micro-climates forecasting may be a challenge.

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