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  

Just Posted

City of Nanaimo staff recommend delaying Cranberry Connector project to 2027

Proposed road would link Cranberry Road with Tenth Street

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: NDP advertising was misleading

Quotations in ads were sound bites taken out of context, says letter writer

Nanaimo firefighters train to save themselves

Fire Ground Survival Program teaches firefighters to stay alive when structure fires turn perilous

Greens want climate protection added to international trade agreements

Green Party leader Elizabeth May campaigns in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Election debate silenced voices

Forum at Beban Park should have included all candidates, says letter writer

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

City of Nanaimo planning to build new boathouse at Long Lake by 2023

$1.35-$2-million project would be used by local rowing, canoe and kayak clubs

Lantzville’s Pottie ‘walking away’ from derelict hotel in Port Alberni after one week

WorkSafe B.C. issues stop work order; owner says cost to continue too high

Most Read