In BC's earliest years, the most important early roads into the interior were need to expedite development and trade during the various gold rushes of the 1850s and 1860s, which required wagon traffic. There was the Harrison-to-Lillooet road Cariboo wagon road, and another from Yale to Barkerville, which was 5.5 m (18 feet) wide, and took 3 years to build. Next was a 49 km (25 miles) road from Hope to Skagit in 1861, up to the Rock Creek. In 1866, another wagon road was built from Cache Creek to Savona, which provided access to the Columbia River goldfields around Revelstoke. The building of the CPR destroyed portions of the Cariboo Road in the Fraser Canyon. h
Some of the most difficult and expensive highway work in Canada was undertaken in this spectacular Fraser Canyon gorge, the same general route used by the Royal Engineers to build the Cariboo Highway in the 1800s.
After difficult and challenging work, the Fraser Canyon section of Highway 1 was completed in the late 1960s. There are seven tunnels in all, ranging in length from 91 metres to 640 metres, the last two tunnels opening to traffic in 1966. Since that time, additional lanes have been built to improve safety and capacity.
The tunnels were cut through solid rock bluffs, given concrete-lined arch roofs, roadway surfaces that extend to 8.15 metres wide, plus sidewalks and lighting. While the old road went around obstacles, the new one had to go through them to meet the required standard, though between Lytton and Spence's Bridge, the old road was sandwiched in between the railway and the river forcing the contractors to move out into the river using retaining walls.
The new Alexandra Bridge over the Fraser River, opened in 1962, eliminated the 35,000-pound load limit on trucks, allowing legal loads to travel along this stretch of Highway 1.
The Alexandra Bridge is a steel arch-span bridge crossing the Fraser River 1km north of Spuzzum (39 km north of Hope). It is the third structure (built 1960 to 1964) named the Alexandra Bridge, and was part of BC Highways modernization of roads and bridges.
The Nlaka'pamux and Sto:lo First Nations have inhabited the area for over 9000 years, and the first white persons to the area was Simon Fraser and his crew during their 1808 expedition down the Fraser Canyon.
The original road bridge was constructed in 1861 as part of the development of the Cariboo Road using native and Chinese labour, when BC was still a colony). The Cariboo Road ran from Fort Yale to Barkerville in the Cariboo Gold fields, via Lillooet to Clinton, 70 Mile House, 100 Mile House, Lac La Hache, 150 Mile House.
The bridge was named for Princess Alexandra of Wales (the wife of Queen Victoria's eldest son, who would become Edward VII). The first bridge was rebuilt by the Royal Engineers as construction of the Cariboo Road progressed, with the newer span opening in 1863, but the rebuilt bridge was destroyed by the