Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Night Work, Upgrading Lions Gate Bridge

Amazingly, most of the bridge-replacement work took place at night so that the daily flow of 70,000 vehicles could continue uninterrupted. The decision to follow this complex timetable — thought to be the first such plan in the world — indicates the bridge’s importance as a transportation link. American Bridge/Surespan, a joint venture, won the $86.5-million contract to execute this logistical feat. During the work, the bridge was closed daily from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m., as well as on a few weekends. Forty-seven deck sections, about 20 m long and weighing 106 t, were progressively installed from north to south. A jacking traveller provided the continuous link on the bridge, besides lifting and lowering the sections. The job took one year, from the night of September 9 to 10, 2000, to the night of September 29 to 30, 2001. Completed without major traffic disruptions, it was hailed as a tremendous engineering success.

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This nighttime close-up shows a bridge section being lowered down to a barge in order to be replaced.

The piece in question is deck section 23, located in the middle of the span.

Since the jacking traveller is in the middle of the span, the photo was likely taken halfway through the year of replacement work — in the spring of 2001.

Photographer Alexis Mackintosh took this picture from a helicopter as part of her assignment with Air Digitale to document the bridge-replacement work.

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