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Bridge authority responds to lawsuit allegations

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by Russell Hixson

Bridge officials contend that ice that fell from the Port Mann Bridge's cables onto a vehicle was an unforeseeable "Act of God."
Bridge authority responds to lawsuit allegations

According to court documents filed in B.C. Supreme Court in response to a lawsuit, Transportation Investment Corporation, Peter Kiewit Infrastructure and Flatiron Constructors deny poor design or maintenance contributed to falling ice from the bridge injuring the plaintiff or damaging her car.

"The build-up and subsequent release of ice and/or snow from the Bridge was the result of a confluence of extreme environmental conditions both unforeseen and unforeseeable to the defendants or any of them and was the inevitable result of an Act of God," reads the response.

The defendants maintain the bridge was designed and constructed to minimize the risk associated with the build-up of ice and snow on the cables.

Roberta Lynn Lessard filed the lawsuit in May.

She claims that in December 2012 falling ice struck her vehicle and smashed her windshield, while she was driving over the bridge.

The suit states she had to slam on her brakes and the incident has given her headaches, soft tissue injuries, nervousness, sleeplessness, shock and trauma.

Her suit claims the bridge was poorly designed and not maintained to prevent ice from building up and falling onto passing cars.

 

In late December 2012, more than 250 vehicles were hit by falling chunks of ice after temperatures dipped and caused ice to form on the cables of the $2.46 billion bridge and highway improvement project.

TI Corp. claims it immediately closed the bridge once the ice issues became apparent.

Its response states any damage, loss or expense suffered happened without negligence on the part of the defendants.

Court documents also state: "Flatiron Constructors Canada and Peter Kiewit Infrastructure had no involvement in the design, construction, repair, maintenance and safety of the bridge and there is no basis for the claim to proceed against the two defendants."

The court has yet to rule on the allegations.

Last winter, TI Corp. introduced a new method to prevent ice and snow from building up on the cable system.

Collars were fastened around the cables at the top of the towers.

The collars can be remotely dropped down the cables to dislodge snow or ice.

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