Motorized Port Mann Bridge Cable Sweeper
Christopher Halim
Heritage Woods Secondary
Floor Location : S 016 N

The purpose of creating this cable sweeper was to decrease the chance of ice bombs falling onto motorists below. Many automobiles were damaged from falling "ice bombs" before the temporary solution of sliding chains down the cables was introduced. The problem is that nothing was developed to prevent the buildup of snow and ice on top of the cables. I intend to solve this problem by developing a motorized cable sweeper that would be put into use at the start of snowfalls so that it would consistently run over the cable, preventing the buildup of large amounts of snow. While developing the cable sweeper, many variables had to be taken into account: amount of snow and ice, cable lengths, cable departure angles, traction between wheels and cables, total weight of the cable sweeper, and powering of the cable sweeper. First I had to decide whether or not I wanted the cable sweeper to be entirely independent of any other machinery, or if it should require the addition of a winch system to the bridge which would pull the sweeper up and down. I decided to make the cable sweeper entirely independent to minimize the cost of having to design and add a system just to move the cable sweepers. I also wanted the cable sweeper to be easy to use by the operator, in order to provide simple attachment as well as detachment. I decided to divide the cable sweeper into parts so that it can be wrapped around the cable, then locked tightly around the cable after the sweeper has been positioned correctly. Powering the independent cable sweeper was also a concern; as I wanted each cable sweeper to be an independently functioning unit, the power source along with the motor must also be part of the entire assembly. In order to minimize the energy use of the cable sweeper, the motor acts as a generator which recharges the batteries as it travels back down the cable. I determined that as the cable sweeper travels up and down with multiple journeys, I would need to make sure that the wheels would not freeze up from the buildup of snow and ice inside the cable sweeper. To overcome this problem, a cone with a circular brush attached to it will be placed on both ends of the sweeper to prevent snow from entering the inside of the cable sweeper. Unfortunately at this time, the cable sweeper is still in the testing phase; at this moment I do not yet have finalized data and analysis of the sweeper's functions. It is expected that the cable sweeper will be successful in removing and preventing snow buildup from the cables of the Port Mann bridge. I plan on testing the cable sweeper for extended periods of time as well as vertical testing to see if it can climb straight up, considering that the steepest cables are close to vertical.