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Ironworkers Memorial Bridge
Official name Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing
Carries Six lanes of British Columbia Highway 1, pedestrians and bicycles
Crosses Burrard Inlet
Locale Vancouver
District of North Vancouver
Maintained by British Columbia Ministry of Transporation
Designer Swan, Wooster and Partners
Design truss/cantilever bridge
Material steel
Total length 1,292 metres (4,240 ft)[1]
Longest span 335 metres (1,100 ft)[1]
Beginning date of construction 1957
Opened August 25, 1960
Coordinates 49°17′43″N 123°01′35″W / 49.295296°N 123.026276°W / 49.295296; -123.026276Coordinates: 49°17′43″N 123°01′35″W / 49.295296°N 123.026276°W / 49.295296; -123.026276

The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, also called the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, is the second bridge constructed at the Second (east) Narrows of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Originally named the Second Narrows Bridge, it connects Vancouver to the north shore of Burrard Inlet, which includes the District of North Vancouver, the City of North Vancouver, and West Vancouver. It was constructed adjacent to the older Second Narrows Bridge, which is now exclusively a rail bridge.

The bridge is a steel truss cantilever bridge, designed by Swan Wooster Engineering Co. Ltd. Construction began in November 1957, and the bridge was officially opened on August 25, 1960. It cost approximately $15 million to build.

The bridge is 1,292 metres (4,240 ft) long with a centre span of 335 metres (1,100 ft). It is part of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1).

Contents

Collapse

Collapsed spans, August 1958
Rescuing workers from the wreckage after the collapse.

On June 17, 1958, as a crane stretched from the north side of the new bridge to join the two chords of the unfinished arch, several spans collapsed. Seventy-nine workers plunged 30 metres (100 ft) into the water. Eighteen were killed either instantly or shortly thereafter, possibly drowned by their heavy tool belts. A diver searching for bodies drowned later, bringing the total fatalities for the collapse to 19. In a subsequent Royal Commission inquiry, the bridge collapse was attributed to miscalculation by bridge engineers. A temporary arm, holding the fifth anchor span, was deemed too light to bear the weight.[2]

Renaming

The bridge was renamed the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing in 1994 to honour the 19 workers who died in the collapse, along with four others who also died during the construction process.[3] Stompin' Tom Connors paid a musical tribute to the fallen ironworkers with the song "The Bridge Came Tumbling Down" on his 1972 album My Stompin' Grounds. (This tune also appears on several later compilations). Jimmy Dean's 1962 song "Steel Men" is a ballad about the Second Narrows bridge disaster. Gary Geddes' 2007 book of poetry, entitled Falsework is based on the collapse of the bridge.

Notes

See also

Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing is located in Vancouver
Location of Ironworkers Memorial in Metro Vancouver

References

External links

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