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.