The New Port Mann Bridge

All of the information presented in this story was shamelessly lifted from Wikipedia.  I've rearranged a lot of it though, so it won't be quite as dry a read.  Wikipedia didn't have all those statistics at the end, though.  I can't remember which web-site I pilfered that from.

The Port Mann Bridge, which carries the Trans-Canada highway across the Fraser River near Vancouver, B.C., is the longest arch bridge in Canada and 15th longest in the world. Opened in 1964, at the time of construction it was the most expensive piece of highway in Canada.  Back then the area’s population was a mere 800,000. 

Today, volume on the bridge is 127,000 trips per day, or 800,000 per week.  Highway 1 and the interchanges around the bridge are congested up to 14 hours a day. During morning rush hour the line up to the Port Mann Bridge can extend up to 12 kilometres.  In 2001, in conjunction with a seismic upgrade and cantilevering the bridge deck outward, One extra eastbound lane was added, but the result has been negligent

Well, the old bridge is about to be replaced.  For the last three years, construction has been ongoing to build a replacement next to the original bridge.  It’s nearing completion now. 

It’s been a long time coming.  The Port Mann/Highway 1 Improvement Project also includes 37 kilometres of widening the Trans-Canada highway – from Langley to Vancouver – upgrading interchanges, and improving access and safety on Highway 1. The new bridge, together with the other improvements, will eliminate one of the worst bottlenecks in Canada, and reduce travel times by up to one hour per day.

Three eastbound lanes opened on the new bridge on Sept. 18.  Once all work is complete (in January 2013), the new Port Mann Bridge will be just over 2 km long, carry 10 lanes, and have a 42m clearance above high water level (same length and clearance as existing). The 850 metre main span is supported by 288 cables, extended from two 163 metre-tall towers ( approximately 75m tall above deck level). The main span is 470 meters long, making it the second longest cable-stayed span in the western hemisphere.  At 65 meters wide, the new Port Mann Bridge will hold the title of being the widest long span bridge of any type in the world.  The current record is held by the Sydney Harbour Bridge at 49 meters wide.

For whatever reason, I was unable to add a second photo.  Here's a short video instead.

A number of groups lobbied to improve public transit rather than build a new bridge. Burnaby city council, Vancouver city council and directors of the Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) passed resolutions opposing the Port Mann/Highway 1 expansion.  Opponents of the expansion included local environmental groups, some urban planners, and Washington State's Sightline Institute.

Opponents also argued that increasing highway capacity would increase greenhouse gas emissions and only relieve congestion for a few years before increased traffic congested the area again, and that expanding road capacity would encourage suburban sprawl. The Livable Region Coalition urged the Minister of Transportation to consider rapid transit lines and improved bus routes instead of building the new bridge.  The David Suzuki Foundation claimed the plan violated the goals of Metro Vancouver's Livable Region Strategic Plan.

During construction of the replacement bridge, a crane collapsed on February 10, 2012, causing a 90-tonne concrete section of bridge decking to drop into the water below. While no one was injured from this collapse, the accident delayed subsequent construction and brought WorkSafe BC inspectors to do an evaluation of safety practices on the construction site.

To recover construction and operating costs, the bridge will be electronically tolled. These fees will be collected electronically by photographing license plates, and locals who do not pay will not be able to renew their driver’s license or car insurance until the bill is settled. Foreign drivers will also be contacted for payment by a US-based contractor.

Here are some boring statistics:
The new bridge will be an iconic structure – the largest and longest main span river crossing in Western Canada; the seond longest (by mere metres) in North America and the 29th longest in the world.

The new bridge will be 2,020 metres long - you could fit 34 hockey rinks along the bridge and still have space to hold the Stanley Cup Victory Parade.

The new bridge will have three main components:

  1. A cable-stayed main bridge (between the end of the cables) across the Fraser river will be 850 meters long (470 metres long between the two towers), and have 288 cables
  2. A south approach (Surrey side), which will be 360 meters long
  3. A north approach (Coquitlam side), which will be 820 meters long
The towers will stand approximately 75m above deck level, with a total height of about 163m from the top of their footing - that's taller than the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel.

The bridge will have 42 metres of navigational clearance above high water level (same length and clearance as existing).

The new bridge is 65 metres wide, including 50 metres of roadway (including shoulders), five metre wide multi-use path, with three metres of clearance for pedestrians and cyclists, and 10 metre gap/median where pylons should support the two bridge decks.

The bridge will have 10 lanes (five in each direction). Initially opening with eight lanes (four in each direction) the additional two lanes will be completed once portions of the old bridge have been removed.

The main span is supported by 288 cables, which if stretched end to end, would cover about 45 kilometres.  

Foundations for the new bridge required use of the largest capacity piles (up to 5000 tonnes capacity) in Canada.

Compared to the Alex Fraser Bridge (another Vancouver area span across the Fraser River), the new Port Mann Bridge is five metres longer and 25 feet taller.

And a snapshot of resources needed to complete the project

1,158 pre-cast segments in the approach spans

25,000 tonnes of asphalt used for new bridge deck

116 steel composite segments in the cable‐stay span

45 kilometres of cable

157,000 m3 of concrete

16 km of pile and 5 km of drilled shafts.

28,000 tonnes of rebar and 13,000 tonnes of structural steel

37 kilometers of onshore Highway 1 widening

3.1 million m3 of earthworks

30 new, 6 rehabilitated structures

100,000 m2 of retaining walls

8,000 person years of employment

New 10 lane, 850 m cable-stayed bridge on the Fraser River Crossing

12,000 tonnes of structural steel

157,000 m3 of concrete

1170 m of approaches

288 cables, 251 piles, 108 caisons

2 pylon towers, each 158 m high
UnderEli UnderEli
46-50, M
1 Response Sep 26, 2012

Looks impressive. Statistics wise and visually too.