Welcome to BC – Go big or stay home

I have lived in BC for more than 10 years now and I have noticed an interesting trend. It seems that whatever happens in BC is always bigger or worse or has a much larger than the rest of the country. Take for example the recent riots when Vancouver lost the Stanley Cup. In Toronto, they have a riot over globalization and the G-8 and here in BC it is over hockey. And it was a bad riot as riots go.

Now we have another example. All over the country, rivers are flowing at higher levels than normal. There has been rampant flooding in Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Flooding would have been boring so instead what do we get? We get transformer towers that are in the Fraser River[1] crashing down and causing power lines to come down across two of the busiest highways in the province!

One really has to wonder why anyone thought it would be a good idea to put power lines across a highway. But then again, those towers have stood for 55 years why would they come down now? Well, apparently, the high water flows over a longer period[2] caused the base of the tower to ‘scour.’[3] When one tower fell, it pulled the electrical lines taut over the whole section. Apparently, BC Hydro was able to ‘de-electrify’ the lines so that there was no danger.

In the middle of the night, all of the local officials gathered in the parking lot of Home Depot[4] in Coquitlam. Here they decided what they were going to do after the initial road closure. For the benefit of my non-Lower Mainland Readers, Highway 1 and the Lougheed[5] are the only routes into Vancouver. Metro Vancouver is a string of municipalities on either side of these roads. In the morning, everyone tries to get into Vancouver and the opposite at the end of the day.

The problem was that there were electrical cables[6] across the highways. So at some point around 7am the dream team at Homo Depot decided they should severe said wires so that the traffic could flow once again. By now, the local radio stations had done their bit to convince people to stay home, take transit, walk, bike or go by mule train. And never doubt the ability of the Vancouver media to stop the traffic from coming. They do it every time it might snow a flake or two.

When I finally left at around noon because I didn’t want to have to deal with this mess everything was fine. It was all reopened by 3 pm[7] and things were moving fine. The benefit of all this to me? There was no traffic to contend with on my way home. This made me a very happy camper!


[1] And have been since like 1956

[2] As it was explained by a geologist today on CBC.

[3] Whatever that means.

[4] Or Homo Depot as we like to call it. Ever been there on a Friday night?

[5] For you Albertans that is pronounced: lowheed not lawheed. It is a highway not a megalomaniac premier.

[6] De-electrified don’t forget.

[7] They had kept a part of United Boulevard closed.

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Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I was very much surprised when I was heading to Surrey late last night after an evening in Vancouver that the Port Mann Bridge was just closed. I was happily driving along Hwy 1 and all of the sudden the highway was just closed at Brunette and you had to get off the highway. And I suck at directions, so then I ended up on Lougheed, which was also closed! Thank the FSM for Google Maps on my iPhone – or I may never have made it home!

  2. […] did notice that in Calgary, power lines do not run across major highways – they run parallel. Who would have thought that was a good […]


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