BC Highway History: Fraser River Bridges

There are several bridges used by the Trans-Canada highway in and across the Fraser River Valley on its Lower Mainland Route between Vancouver (with its own network of bridges) and Hope.

Arthur Laing Bridge-aerial view

Port Mann Bridge (Trans-Canada Highway)

The first Port Mann Bridge opened in 1964 with four lanes over 2,093 m (6,867 ft), including approach spans. It connected Surrey on the south bank of the Fraser with Coquitlam on the north bank of the Fraser. It was named after the community of Port Mann, through which the south end of the bridge passed. In 2001, an eastbound HOV lane was added while doing a seismic upgrade, to help it carry 127,000 trips per day.

Originally twinning the old bridge was considered, and then it was decided to replace it with a new a 10-lane cable-stayed replacement bridge, the widest in the world (and demolishing the original bridge). The new Port Mann Bridge, opened in 2012 and carries the Trans-Canada Highway over the Fraser River, with an HOV lane, and cycling and pedestrian access. It was built at a cost of $2.5 billion, including 37 kilometres (23 mi) of Highway 1 upgrade.

The new bridge is 2.02 kilometres (1.26 mi) long, and 65 metres (213 ft) wide to carry 10 lanes of traffic. It has a 42 metres (138 ft) clearance above the river’s high water level (the same length and clearance as the old bridge) and the towers rise 163 metres (535 ft) from top of footing. The main span (between the towers) is 470 metres (1,540 ft) long, the second longest cable-stayed span in the western hemisphere.

To recover construction and operating costs, the bridge is electronically tolled. The toll rates are $1.60 for motorcycle, $3.15 for cars, $6.30 for small trucks and $9.45 for large trucks (2015).

Golden Ears Bridge (Langley – Maple Ridge)

Golden Ears Bridge
This location used to be served by the Albion Ferry, for both passenger and vehicles, which operated since 1957 until 2009. The ferry ran every 1/2 hour between Albion (Maple Ridge) and Fort Langley. In 2003, annual traffic on the free ferry amounted to 1.5 million vehicles and 4.0 million passengers

The Golden Ears Bridge is a six-lane extradosed bridge (using cable stays to support a box-girder bridge) to span the Fraser River, and connect Langley on the south side with Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge on the north side, as well as Lougheed Highway (Highway 7) and the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). The bridge has daily traffic of 23,000 trips who pay tolls mostly electronically

The construction started in 2006 and the bridge opened to traffic in 2009, at a total construction cost of $808 million. The bridge has a total length of 2,410 m (7,910 ft) including approaches, with 3 main spans 244 m (801 ft) long m and 2 shoreline spans 122 m (400 ft) long. There are eight pylons in the river, four of them supporting cable stays are 90 m (300 ft) high.

When the bridge opened it was a toll bridge, but the tolls were removed in September 2017.

Mission Bridge

Mission Bridge (highway 11, between Mission and Abbotsford)

The Mission Bridge is a steel girder bridge across the Fraser River, connecting the District Of Mission on the north to the City of Abbotsford on the south. The bridge is 3,695 feet (1,126.2 m) long and is the only direct road link between the two communities.

Prior to this bridge, the only crossing of the Fraser River at this point was a railway bridge, with boards laid on the rail-ties to permit some automobile crossings, but flooding in the 1940s and 1950s made the bridge inaccessible to vehicle traffic.

The bridge construction, from 1969 to 1972, placed a four-lane highway along with pedestrian/bicycle paths onto 19 piers, for a total cost of $13 million.

In 2012, an earthquake resistant device was added to the bridge, along with barriers protecting cyclists crossing the bridge.

Agassiz-Rosedale Bridge

Highway 9, the Agassiz-Rosedale Highway, is a north-south route in the eastern part of the Fraser Valley, to connect Rosedale, just off Highway 1 with Agassiz  and Harrison Hot Springs on the North bank of the Fraser, west of Hope. Highway 9 first opened in 1953, originally going between Yale Road in Rosedale and Highway 7, serviced by a ferry across the Fraser River.

The bridge for Highway 9 across the Fraser opened in 1956. When the Chilliwack section of Highway 1 opened in 1961, Highway 9 was extended south to a Highway 1 junction.

Water Avenue Bridge, Hope

The Fraser Bridge was built in 1915 by the provincial government and the CPR, who needed to link the Kettle Valley Railway (“KVR”) with the Canadian Pacific Railway (“CPR”) mainline. The double-deck bridge carried trains on the lower deck and cars used the upper deck.  Trains no longer cross the bridge, but the original structure is still in use for vehicle traffic on the Trans-Canada Hihjway. It is also used to day for vehicles crossing from Hope to the #7 Lougheed Highway on the north bank of the Fraser to Harrison Hot Springs, Mission, Pitt Meadows & Maple Ridge.    Little evidence remains showing that trains ran south and east of the bridge into town.

Trans-Canada Highway Itinerary Map

Use mouse to drag/move map. Click on “+” or “” to zoom in or out. “Satellite” combines map & photo.