Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Upgrading, Lions Gate Bridge

For decades the provincial government waffled on what to do about the bridge’s disastrous traffic situation. Sporadic discussions about twinning the span or creating a third crossing on Burrard Inlet came to nothing. In the 1990s, the province seriously considered replacing the structure. But the public’s growing perception of the bridge’s heritage value, plus opposition to widening the causeway at the expense of Stanley Park, overrode plans for significant change. The span was upgraded with minimal alterations, including a new deck and trusses; roadway space was gained through the addition of cantilevered sidewalks, which moved pedestrian and bicycle traffic to the outside of the towers. The deck was replaced in sections — the same manner in which it was initially built. This picture shows new sections waiting on the staging ground under the north end, a barge bringing a new section at left, and a dropped-out older section waiting to be removed on the barge at right.

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This is a photo of the bridge upgrading process, about one-third complete at this point. Sections were replaced one at a time.

The photo looks toward the bridge’s north end, with the replaced sections in place on the left and old sections on the right.

Work began on the night of September 9 to 10, 2000, and finished on the night of September 29 to 30, 2001.

Internationally known photographer Alexis Mackintosh, working with Air Digitale, documented the bridge upgrade. Mackintosh’s work can also be found in the National Archives of Canada.

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