Arthur Laing Bridge
|Arthur Laing Bridge|
|Carries||4 lanes of Grant McConachie Way, bicycles|
|Crosses||North Arm Fraser River|
|Maintained by||Vancouver International Airport|
|Total length||1676 m|
|Longest span||270 m|
|Preceded by||Marpole Bridge|
The Arthur Laing Bridge is a four-lane, high-level bridge carrying Grant McConachie Way over the North Arm of the Fraser River between Vancouver and Richmond, British Columbia's Sea Island where the Vancouver International Airport is located. Two parallel independent unpainted steel box girders make up the main spans. The bridge is operated by the Vancouver International Airport.
The current bridge is on the same alignment as its predecessor, the Marpole Bridge. The first Marpole bridge (1889–1901) was a low-level road bridge consisting of a series of timber through-truss spans, with a steel through-truss for navigation.
The second Marpole bridge (1901–1957), with its half-through steel plate girder swing span, was frequently opened at inconvenient times. Records show, for example, that the bridge opened 7,015 times in 1954. It was dismantled in 1957 after the completion that same year of the Oak Street Bridge, which was built to the east and connected Vancouver directly to the main island of Richmond, Lulu Island. Access to Sea Island and the airport was then made via the Moray Bridge. The Oak Street Bridge soon became congested and a new bridge needed to be built.
On September 6, 1974, Pierre Trudeau announced that the new bridge over the North Arm of the Fraser River would be named after Arthur Laing who was a Member of the Canadian House of Commons from Vancouver. Arthur Laing died before the bridge was officially opened on May 15, 1976 (traffic had been using it since August 1975). This new bridge had the same alignment as the Marpole bridge, but was higher and longer.
In its 2006 long range plans, the Vancouver Airport Authority, who owns and maintains the bridge, raised the possibility of adding a toll directed at non-airport users. This has been strongly opposed by many Richmond residents, while opposition has been championed on the local level by local city councillors Bill McNulty and Derek Dang. Since that time, other city councillors have spoken up and voiced their opposition to this plan, such as Harold Steves and Rob Howard.