Fencing in the overpass vandals
It’s only about eight feet tall and weighs a couple of hundred pounds.
However, a new steel enclosure in Dallas could eventually save the life of a driver on Highway 1.
A small crew from Argo Road Maintenance and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure were at the Pat Road pedestrian overpass on Tuesday morning (Jan. 3), installing a portion of an new enclosure.
Using a crane and a bit of man power, the crew of five lifted the enclosure to the top of the overpass, resting it on the edges of the crossing.
The structure was then welded in place and, after about an hour, the enclosure, which is made of galvanized steel arches and wire mesh, was ready to be tested.
Sherry Eland, the ministry’s district manager, said government officials will monitor the enclosure through the winter to see how it handles ice and snow loads.
“Before we go out to tender for it, we want to make sure the brackets, in the way they attach it, are going to work,” she said.
Eland noted the wire mesh is small enough to stop any object from being dropped through and onto Highway 1 below, but wide enough to stop snow and ice from collecting on the enclosure.
If the structure passes the test, the plan is to extend it along the entire length of the crossing and walkway.
The ministry expects to put the project out a tender in the coming months, with completion set for the end of March.
Eland wouldn’t reveal the cost of the project, noting it’s common practice to keep financial details under wraps until the tender is awarded.
It’s the first such enclosure in the B.C. Interior.
There were several close calls resulting from people throwing debris from the overpass in 2011, including a harrowing Halloween night incident that saw a pumpkin tossed from the crossing and crashing through the window of a truck travelling east on Highway 1.
The large gourd broke the truck’s windshield and smashed through the cab’s back window as well.
The driver suffered minor cuts as a result of the broken glass, but was able to safely pull the rig over.
City council sent a letter to the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure following that incident, asking that something be done to prevent such acts from taking place on the overpass.