The City of Victoria will be conducting a formal safety review after a man was seen hanging from the elevated bridge on Friday, July 19. (Nicole Cresenzi/News Staff)

Victoria to review safety after man left hanging from raised bridge

More and more people seen ignoring safety measurements in place, city staff say

The City of Victoria will conduct a safety review after a man was left hanging on the Johnson Street Bridge after it was raised on Friday evening.

An investigation by the Victoria Police found that the intoxicated man deliberately ignored the bridge safety warnings, and was stuck for the duration of a raise about a quarter of the way up from the east side. The man held on by bracing his legs around the railing. The bridge had to finish its course, as a barge was passing underneath and couldn’t be stopped.

For Fraser Work, director of engineering and public works for the City of Victoria, this was a near-miss that is becoming more common.

READ MORE: Victoria Police issue warning after man left dangling from raised Johnson Street Bridge

“We’re seeing more and more people that are choosing to cross the bridge after the warnings have started because they don’t want to be inconvenienced,” Work said. “We really want to deter that type of behaviour, because it puts a lot of strain on a lot of safety measures and things we’re trying to protect.”

Presently, bridge operators have a layered safety protocol which includes communicating with the harbour master, alerting emergency services that the bridge is going up, flashing warning lights, putting down barricades and running audio announcements before any bridge movement happens. The operators also have cameras along the bridge, and a public announcement system to directly address someone.

If there’s enough time in a situation, operators can contact the tug boats and hope there’s enough space for oncoming vessels to redirect or slow down. However, if someone makes a last-second attempt to get on the bridge it can be difficult, if not impossible, to stop things from happening.

ALSO READ: Man dies after fall from Johnson Street Bridge

“These are very large heavy machines that are difficult to redirect,” Work said. “If someone chooses to hop out or sneak around the guard … at the end of the day there’s only so many checks operators can make.”

Work said that a similar safety review was conducted in December 2018 when an intoxicated man climbed on the railing of the Johnson Street Bridge before fatally falling into the water.

Works said minor things were changed after this incident, including the addition of a life ring into the operator’s shack, the redirection of some lighting and an adjustment to camera angles.

Work expects this review to take approximately two weeks, but is not sure if many changes will be seen.

“There’s lights, barricades, announcements and there’s the bell,” he said. “You’re not supposed to put yourself in that position. The question comes what’s prudent … I can’t protect someone if they deliberately put themselves in harm’s way.”

The City of Victoria as well as the Victoria Police Department are asking the public to follow all safety warnings and signs when approaching the Johnson Street Bridge.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com


Send a Tweet: @NicoleCrescenzi

Like us on Facebook  

City of VictoriaJohnson Street bridge

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Trail Shoppers Drug Mart offers virtual doctor appointments

Most Shoppers locations in B.C. will offer online appts by Aug. 4

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Two search and rescue calls involving children end with happy outcomes

The incidents took place in Trail and Salmo area on July 5 and 6

Province releases Columbia River Treaty public feedback report

Reservoir levels, fair compensation for impacted communities, among many issues raised

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read