Jump to content

Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing

Coordinates: 49°17′43″N 123°01′35″W / 49.295296°N 123.026276°W / 49.295296; -123.026276
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Bridge
Coordinates49°17′43″N 123°01′35″W / 49.295296°N 123.026276°W / 49.295296; -123.026276
CarriesSix lanes of British Columbia Highway 1, pedestrians and bicycles
CrossesBurrard Inlet
District of North Vancouver
Official nameIronworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing
OwnerBritish Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
DesignTruss/cantilever bridge
Total length1,292 metres (4,239 ft)[1]
Longest span335 metres (1,099 ft)[1]
DesignerSwan, Wooster and Partners
Constructed byPeter Kiewet and Sons, Raymond International,[2] and Dominion Bridge Company[3]
Construction start1957
OpenedAugust 25, 1960
Daily traffic121,778 (2021)[4]

The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, also called the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge and Second Narrows 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. Its construction, from 1956 to 1960, was marred by a multi-death collapse on June 17, 1958. The First Narrows Bridge, better known as Lions Gate Bridge, crosses Burrard Inlet about 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) west of the Second Narrows.

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 $23 million to build.[5] Tolls were charged until April 1, 1963.[6]

The bridge is 1,292 metres (4,239 ft) long with a centre span of 335 metres (1,099 ft). It is part of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1).


Under construction in June 1958, prior to collapse
Collapsed spans in August 1958

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 (98 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 nineteen. 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.[7]

In December 1957, a safety inspector from the British Columbia Workmen's Compensation Board had reported that the installation of a safety net under the work platforms was "impracticable" following the death of another steelworker.[8]


The bridge was renamed the "Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing" on June 17, 1994, to honour the eighteen workers who died in the collapse, along with one rescue diver and four other workers who also died during the construction process.[9][10]

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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 song also appears on several later compilations, one of which was performed by Les Claypool's Duo de Twang).
  • 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.


  • Jamieson, Eric, Tragedy at Second Narrows: The Story of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, Harbour Publishing, 2008.
  • Rasky, Frank, Great Canadian Disasters, Longman, 1961. (chapter 10)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing at Structurae
  2. ^ British Columbia Department of Highways (1957). Minister of Highways Report for the Fiscal Year 1955/56 (Report). Victoria: Government of British Columbia. p. 84. doi:10.14288/1.0349122. J110.L5 S7; 1957_V02_08_N1_N212. Retrieved September 27, 2022.
  3. ^ British Columbia Department of Highways (1958). Minister of Highways Report for the Fiscal Year 1956/57 (Report). Victoria: Government of British Columbia. p. 96. doi:10.14288/1.0354204. J110.L5 S7; 1958_V02_04_J1_J243.
  4. ^ "Monthly Volume Calendar - Second Narrows P-15-2EW - NY" (PDF). British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. October 13, 2021. Retrieved February 28, 2022.
  5. ^ "New bridge open amid subdued air". The Province. August 26, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved December 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ Staff Writer (April 1, 1963). "Bridge Traffic Goes Smoothly, Because it's Free, Free, Free". Vancouver Sun. p. 1. Retrieved October 2, 2022.
  7. ^ Lowe, Keith (June 26, 2000). "Bridge disaster recalled". North Shore News. Archived from the original on December 15, 2005. Retrieved February 4, 2006.
  8. ^ "Nets under bridge 'impraticable'". The Province. December 11, 1957. p. 12. Retrieved December 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "50th anniversary of Second Narrows Bridge collapse". WorkSafe BC. June 17, 2008. Archived from the original on January 1, 2010. Retrieved May 25, 2009.
  10. ^ "Second Narrows Memorial". The Vancouver Sun. June 18, 1994. p. A3. Retrieved December 5, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.

External links[edit]