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Impaired afternoon driver among the winter storm hazards Delta Police had to deal with

Three significant winter storms since Dec. 24 have kept City of Delta and Mainroad crews busy around the clock

Delta Police traffic officers already had their hands full dealing with Thursday’s treacherous driving conditions and the Alex Fraser Bridge closure when they stumbled upon a minor accident that could have had far worse consequences.

The DPD Traffic officers were at the Alex Fraser just before 1:30 p.m., assisting with the closure of the bridge when an officer witnessed a car drive at slow speed directly into the back of a parked traffic control vehicle. The vehicle that was struck was occupied by a contractor, but fortunately they were not seriously injured.

“Police determined that the driver was impaired by drugs after conducting a Standard Field Sobriety Test and subsequent Drug Influence Evaluation,” explained Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “The car was impounded. The investigation is ongoing, as police await the result of urine samples.

“(Thursday’s) challenging snow and icy conditions demanded a lot from drivers, and that’s why our officers were very concerned to find two impaired drivers.”

DPD officers spent the day assisting the public with everything from cars stuck on slick side streets to even shovelling snow. That’s what constables Mike Tegart and Jeff Miller did as they stepped up to help the Tsawwassen First Nation Service Team with snow removal on the ramps at the Elder’s Centre.

Storms keeping City of Delta & Mainroad crews busy

Meanwhile, it’s been a hectic stretch and a huge effort for city maintenance crews that have had to deal with three significant winter storms. The first big dump of snow started on Dec. 24 and the next winter blast followed Dec. 29. The latest came over night Wednesday dumping another 15 centimetres on the region.

“City crews have been busy throughout the holiday season dealing with successive waves of snowfall and have been working around the clock providing snow and ice clearing efforts since Christmas Eve. For the most recent event, staff had been salting and brining priority roads yesterday (Wednesday) in advance of the anticipated snowfall,” explained Steven Lan, City of Delta’s Director of Engineering.

“Given the significant snowfall that was forecasted, the entire city snow and ice response fleet was mobilized and have been working continuously since (Wednesday night) on plowing and salting priority roadways. As well, staff have been clearing municipal parking lots, bus stops, and sidewalks fronting municipal facilities.”

There have been complaints to the Optimist and on social media regarding pedestrians encountering snow and ice on sidewalks.

Lan noted it’s not all the city’s responsibility.

“Our Highways Bylaw requires commercial and industrial properties to remove snow and ice from any abutting sidewalk within 24 hours. For other classes of properties including schools and residential properties, we rely on the property owners to voluntarily clear snow from any abutting sidewalks,” he added. “Given the experience from this extended snowfall event, we will be reviewing the need to update the Bylaw to address some of the sidewalk snow clearing concerns that have been raised.”

It has also been a challenging couple of weeks for Mainroad Lower Mainland Contracting.

They are responsible for winter maintenance of Highway 17A, Highway 17 (from 17A to B.C. Ferries Causeway), Highway 99 (from Oak Street Bridge to Peace Arch Border), Highway 10 (From Highway 91 to Highway 1), Highway 91 and Highway 91A.

“Mainroad has experienced an over 20 percent increase in labour and equipment hours as well as used over 300 percent more in winter materials in the last three weeks to maintain the provincial highways in the Delta area, as compared to previous years,” said Mainroad general manager Calvin Chan. “Our crews have shown tremendous dedication and hard work throughout this period, which for many of them meant working through the Christmas season. We are grateful for their hard work and thankful for the understanding of their families.”

Two of the snow events resulted in temporary closures of the Alex Fraser Bridge, on Dec. 24 and again Jan. 6. Under normal conditions, the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure uses a cable-collar system to remove snow that builds up on the bridge cables so traffic can safely pass. However, high winds can increase the shedding of snow and pose a risk to the rope technicians. This prevents them from deploying the system.