Westham Island Bridge
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|Westham Island Bridge|
Westham Island Bridge, looking northward.
|Carries||One lane of Westham Island Road|
|Locale||Delta, British Columbia|
|Total length||325 m|
The Westham Island Bridge is a partially single-lane, wood-deck truss bridge located in Ladner, British Columbia. The bridge passes over Canoe Pass in the Fraser River Estuary and connects Ladner with Westham Island. The bridge's length is approximately 325 m (1066 feet). The bridge was constructed between 1909 and 1912 and has undergone extensive refitting over the years.
Electrical Swing Motor
Electrical operation of the swing span was adapted in 1974. Previous to that time the bridge was manually operated by lifting a steel plate in the deck of the bridge and inserting a ten-foot bar into a lever. The operator would walk in a clockwise circle to open the span for marine traffic and then reverse the operation to close. The bridge still has this manual capacity. Remarkably a single-armed gentleman operated the bridge in this fashion until the age of 71, retiring when the electrical motor was installed.
Increase Load Restrictions
TransLink contracts Mainroad Contracting Ltd. and improves the load restriction to 50 tonnes (originally 20 tonnes).
Part of the bridge consists of one of the few remaining wooden 'Howe Trusses' in existence and has been recognized and storied by both 'Canadian' and 'National' Geographic Societies. It is an occasional chosen location for film and TV productions. One of the most famous was an episode of the X-Files TV series, "Kill Switch". The bridge is a favorite of photographers in general and particularly bird-watchers as Westham Island Road is also the only route by road to the Riefel Island Bird Sanctuary. It is one of the oldest swing-bridges operating in BC.
TransLink, the regional transportation authority, is responsible for the bridge.
The bridge opens on request for marine traffic. Vessels should call the bridge operator on VHF channel 74.
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