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Friday, September 21, 2012

THE NEW PORT MANN BRIDGE: A 'HISTORIC' CROSSING

The other day after lunch, my friend Renate asked me if I'd like to take a drive across the new Port Mann Bridge. It was opening day for the new bridge, kind of a 'historic' event, and a great opportunity to see the bridge close up and personal.  For months we've all watched the construction of this new bridge, adjacent to the old Port Mann steel tied arch bridge which opened in June 1964.


The new bridge is more than two kilometers long and has a 50 metre wide roadway surface.  There'll be 10 lanes when it's all completed by December.  It's one of the longest bridges in North America, as well as the widest. The bridge is supported by 288 cables, 23 piers, two abutments, 108 drilled shafts and 251 piles. The cables are attached to two pylon towers, each 160 metres high roughly the equivalent of a 50 story building. The towers stand approximately 75 metres above the deck level. Quite an impressive sight!


There were a lot of other drivers with the same idea but the traffic kept speeding ahead and we cruised across high above the mighty Fraser River, then turned around and drove back. The old bridge, alongside, looks so small in comparison!  And the new bridge, although it will be tolled, should open up a faster way for all the traffic that now clogs the highway from the suburbs into the city.





 
For today it was a freebie and a chance to try it out.  A historic moment for drivers and a really fun outing! 

5 comments:

Renate Ford said...

It was a great ride. I'm so glad you took photos as I wouldn't have been able to do it if I were driving alone.
I remember driving over the original bridge with my parents in 1964,on opening day, so it was important to do it for this one too.
Thanks for coming and snapping pics.
Renate

Alphonse Daigle said...

I believe the total length of the Port Mann Bridge is 2,093 m (6,867 ft) - that includes approach spans. Well, the main span is 366 m (1,201 ft) add the two 110 m (360 ft) spans on either side to that. So far, the volume on the bridge is 127,000 trips per day - approximately eight percent of the traffic on the Port Mann bridge is truck traffic - that's how strong the Port Mann Bridge is.

Salvatore Aguilar said...

Nice! You drove over the Port Mann Bridge the first time it was built, huh. So, what can you say about this new bridge? Is it better than the old one? One thing that I might be sure of is that this bridge is much stronger now. This is because as time passes by, people also continue to develop new ways in building structures like this. People keep on finding ways to make bridges stronger and safer. ;)

Wynn Bexton said...

My friend who drove us across had gone across the old bridge when it first opened. I don't drive anymore myself so this was a treat trying out the new bridge.

Carl Patten said...

@ Alphonse: Excellent calculations, buddy! You've done your research well. But, did you know that the bridge is divided into three key sections? Those are the cable-stayed main span bridge, the south approach in Surrey, and the north approach in Coquitlam.