Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Vancouver's Bridges: Skytrain, Patullo, and New Westminster Bridges

We looked at the Skytrain Bridge yesterday. It's a cable-stayed bridge (built in 1990) that carries automated trains over the Fraser River.

A few hundred meters to the east is the Patullo Bridge that we looked at back in March 2, 2009. It is a suspended deck truss arch bridge that was built in 1937. Because of the narrow lanes and the lack of a median barrier, there are frequent accidents on the bridge and it's expected to be replaced in a few years with a toll bridge. In 2009 vandals set fire to the wooden trestle on the south end of the bridge but it was quickly repaired.

A couple hundred meters further to the east is the New Westminster (or CNR) Bridge. It is a long truss bridge that was built in 1904 with a swing span in the middle of the Fraser River. Like the Patullo Bridge, it is frequently the target of vandals and they have stopped using open car vehicle transporters on this bridge.

Six kilometers further to the east along the Fraser River is the Port Mann Bridge (completed in 1964) that closely resembles the Patullo Bridge. I never had time to photograph this bridge, but photos are available at Wikipedia. The bridge carries an amazing 126,000 vehicles a day. Although the bridge is only 45 years old, there are plans to build another bridge with a larger capacity and to tear the Port Mann Bridge down. As can be expected in a politically active city like Vancouver, there have been protests to improve mass transit instead of building more ways for people to drive cars into the city. Perhaps the Golden Ears Bridge was built to carry some of the excess traffic?

With its broad rivers and growing population, I guess Vancouver is a good city for bridge engineers.
Creative Commons License
Vancouver's Bridges: Skytrain, Patullo, and New Westminster Bridges by Mark Yashinsky is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

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