History of Vancouver Bridges in British Columbia
There area several bridges in and around Vancouver, allowing the Trans-Canada travellers and commuters to cross the many waterways in the area. These bridges enable drivers to connect to the BC Ferries, the North Shore's Upper Levels Highway and the Sea to Sky Highway, as well as heading south to Highway 99 to White Rock and continueing south to the United States.
The Lions Gate Bridge
The Lions Gate Bridge (also called the First Narrows Bridge) is a green-painted suspension bridge that connects Vancouver to the North Shore. The term "Lions Gate" refers to The Lions, a pair of mountain peaks north of Vancouver, which are visible to northbound traffic on the bridge.
The Lions Gate Bridge was built by the Guiness Family which wanted to sell high-end real estate on the North Shore, an area known as The British Properties. The 3 lane bridge, built for just under $6 million, would make it possible for home buyers to quickly commute into Vancouver (and not go by ferry) as well as open up North Shore recreation to Vancouverites.
Prospect Point in Stanley Park offered a good approach to a high south end for the bridge, but the shoreline at the mouth of the Capilano River required an extensive North Viaduct to be built. The bridge's total length including the north approach is 1,823 m (5,981 ft) and the main span is 473 m (1,552 ft) across. The two towers are 111 m (364 ft) tall and provide ships a clearance of 61 m (200 ft).
The Lions Gate Bridge was completed in 1938, a year after the Golden Gate Bridge, and was officially opened by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The Guinness family sold the bridge to the province for $6 million in 1963 9at which time the tolls were removed).
The bridge has three reversible lanes, managed by overhead signals, and the bridge handles over 60,000 vehicles a day. The bridge forms part of Highways 99 and 1A.
In 1986 the Guinness family, gave to Vancouver decorative lights for the bridge(using 100-watt mercury vapour bulbs). The lighting was updated in 2009 with new LED lights. In, 2005, the Lions Gate Bridge was designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Second Narrows Bridge
This bridge is covered in the North Shore's Upper Levels Highway history.
Arthur Laing Bridge
The Arthur Laing Bridge is a four-lane, high-level bridge taking Grant McConachie Way over the North Arm of the Fraser River and onto Sea Island where the Vancouver International Airport is located. Two parallel independent unpainted steel box girders make up the main spans. The bridge is operated by the Vancouver International Airport
The original bridge at this location was the Marpole Bridge, a low-level wood-steel truss bridge that was first built in 1889. The second Marpole bridge (1901-1957), had a steel plate girder swing span, and was dismantled in 1957 after the Oak Street Bridge connected Vancouver directly to the main island of Richmond and via a new Moray Bridge to Lulu Island, Sea Island, and the airport.
In 1974, Pierre Trudeau announced that the new bridge to service the airport (named after Arthur Laing, a Vancouver member of the Canadian House of Commons), which was opened in 1976.
The Granville Street Bridge
The Granville Street Bridge is an eight lane bridge that spans False Creek and is 27.4 metres above Granville Island. The bridge connects downtown Vancouver with South Granville Street and its shoppers' paradise, as well as access to Granville Island. and Granville continues south to Vancouver Airport and further to Highway 99.
The first bridge here was completed in 1889 and was a 732-metre long low timber trestle. It was largely designed by the CPR, and had a wing span for boats to pass underneath, and cost $16,000. The 1909 replacement Granville Street Bridge was a longer, medium-level steel bridge , but still had a swing span. The current eight-lane Granvile Street Bridge opened in 1954, as built at a cost of $16.5 million
Burrard Street Bridge
The street is named for Burrard Inlet, at its northern end, and the Inlet is named for Sir Harry Burrard-Neale. The intersection of Burrard Street and Georgia Street is considered to be the centre of Downtown Vancouver The Bridge will take you to Kitsilano (just called "Kits" by locals), and several major attractions including the Vancouver Museum, the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, the Maritime Museum & St Roch, Kitsilano beach and pool, as well as great shopping and eating along 4th Avenue and West Broadway. It also provides the best access to the University of British Columbia.
Alex Fraser Bridge (Delta)
The Alex Fraser Bridge (also known as the Annacis Bridge) is a cable-stayed bridge over the Fraser River that connects Richmond and New Westminster with North Delta. The bridge is named for Alex Fraser (1916 - 1989), a former British Columbia Minister of Transportation.
Construction started in 1983 and when it opened in 1986, it was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world (until 2005) with a cost of $58 million. The towers are 154 m (505 ft) tall and the bridge is 2,525 m (8,284 ft) long, with a main span of 465 m (1,526 ft). The bridge has six lanes, three in each direction, with sidewalks for pedestrians and cyclists. When the bridge opened in 1986, only four of the six lanes were used, but all were opened in 1987 with increased traffic.
The bridge's northern end is on Delta's Annacis Island and the southern end is in North Delta, continuing to Blaine, Washington and to White Rock.
In 2017, it was announced that a new lane will be added on the bridge, by slightly narrowing the existing lanes and removing the shoulders. A counterflow system, using movable barriers, will help ease traffic during morning and afternoon rush hours. This is to be completed as of spring 2018.
Heading South: Highway 99
Heading south to White Rock and the United States, or north from Tsawwassen, many drive on Highway 99.
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