Unlocking North Vancouver History

Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge

Cable Anchors

The two giant cables holding up the Lions Gate Bridge each contained many strands, which were individually anchored at either end into massive concrete abutments. Each strand was attached to a steel button anchor. Four splay collars, each weighing 900 pounds (407 kg), guided the strands into their radial position. The north anchor block measured 30 by 74 feet (9 by 23 m) and was 44 feet (13 m) deep. It weighed 20,000 tons (18,140 t) and was designed to withstand a maximum cable pull of 6,300 tons (5,714 t). This block doubled as the viaduct’s footing, so that the weight of the steel structure could help further resist the pull of the suspension cables. The south anchor block was wedge-shaped, weighed about 15,000 tons (13,605 t) and was sunk 40 feet (12 m) deep into hard clay. The only fatality during bridge construction occurred as the result of a cave-in at the south anchor pit. An unfortunate mucker, Lester Thorstad, was crushed by falling debris.

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This is a cable anchor. Each cable strand was fabricated from 47 wires supplied from the United States by the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company.

This is the anchorage in the cliff on the south shore at the edge of Stanley Park.

This photo was taken on August 16, 1938; the work on the cables had been completed at the end of April of that year.

A Quebec firm, the Anglo-Canadian Wire Rope Company, twisted Roebling’s wires into 3,400-foot (1,036-m) strands and shipped them to Vancouver by rail.

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