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)

City of Victoria to hold formal safety review after man was 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

SD63 students calling on the province to step in and end strike

SD63 students to gather at Minister of Education’s office while strike continues into third week

Two reports of prowlers in one night in Esquimalt

VicPD notes simple changes can help prevent crime around your home

Pet photos with Santa funds pair of Greater Victoria animal-friendly organizations

Broadmead Centre Pets West hosts the events Nov. 30 and Dec. 1

Mysterious polaroid camera left along Metchosin trail reveals art project

Artist ‘Jar Binks’ lays claim to waterproof camera

Thousands of cigarette butts collected and recycled from downtown Victoria

Canisters placed throughout the downtown core have made an impact on local litter

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Greater Victoria 2019 holiday craft fair roundup

Get a jump on your holiday shopping

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Most Read