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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).
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.
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
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.