Watch the Old Port Mann Bridge Disappear in 30 Seconds

It’s official. The old Port Mann Bridge has been completely dismantled and demolition work is now done. Built in 1964 as a key part of the Trans-Canada Highway, this iconic bridge spanned the Fraser River between Surrey and Coquitlam and served traffic moving in and out of Greater Vancouver for many, many years. Construction of the new 10 lane Port Mann Bridge required dismantling the old bridge, which began in December 2012.

Why Couldn’t We Keep the Old Bridge?

The footprint for the new bridge overlapped sections of the old bridge’s approach spans, and removing the original crossing was ultimately more cost effective than upgrading and maintaining it. Plans to twin the original crossing with a second five lane bridge were abandoned early in the planning phase in favour of one new 10 lane crossing built to modern earthquake standards.

How Did We Do It?

Sections of the bridge were removed, piece-by-piece, in reverse order to how it was constructed. Crews started with the deck, then the girders on the approaches. Removal of the steel arch finished during the summer of 2015.

All that remains of the original bridge are two concrete pedestals, or footings. One remains on the western tip of Tree Island, and the other on the southern bank of the Fraser River. Both footings were left in place because they help with shoreline stability and provide habitat for fish and wildlife. Materials from the original bridge were recycled, including more than 18,000 tonnes of structural steel.

To celebrate the official passing of the old and the beginning of the new, we collected some images of the conceptualization and construction of the old bridge below.

Do you have any questions about the old or new bridge? Connect with us below or find us on Twitter or
Facebook.

Conceptual Model of Port Mann Bridge
Discussing the concept of the original bridge, circa 1960
Construction of Port Mann Bridge
Construction of the original bridge, circa 1961.
Construction of the Port Mann Bridge
Construction of the original bridge, circa 1961.
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The original Port Mann Bridge in use.

Page 1 of 12 comments on “Watch the Old Port Mann Bridge Disappear in 30 Seconds”

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  1. Could the Ministry advise on the Commemorative Coin which was made for the Port Mann which was originally opened to traffic around 1964/5? Also what material was used in that coin?

    Thank you,
    JJSB

    Reply
  2. Hallo
    Thank you so much for the information. I am glad to tell you they
    the people at Kiewit were so helpful and they found a piece for us.
    This is going to make someone very happy. Thank you so much. I have
    One more question I am also looking for some original photos or a poster
    Of the old Bridge do you know where I could find this. You have been so helpful thank you again.
    Sincerely
    Eileen

    Reply
    • Hello again Eileen,

      We are so happy to hear your news! I am sending some photos of the bridge during and after construction to your email account. Please let me know if you don’t get them.

      Reply
  3. Hallo
    I have a question I live in Holland and have recently gotten to know one of the original engineers for the
    Old port Mann Bridge he is now 91 years old. Is there anyway I could acquire a piece of the old Bridge
    This would mean so much to him and his son.
    Your s hopefully
    Eileen Brave

    Reply
    • Hello Eileen,

      Thank you for connecting with us here and sharing your very nice request. Unfortunately, the ministry did not actually de-construct the old Port Mann. This job was done by a contractor, Kiewit Flatiron. We encourage you to connect with them to see if they can help with your ask. Good luck! Here is the contact page for you: https://www.kiewit.com/districts/western-canada/over/

      Reply
  4. someone is circulating a repetitive rumour that the old bridge was sold for re-use in Mexico. Is that how it was recycled? If so, what was their purchase price?

    Reply
    • Hi Chris
      Thanks for the comment. It was our Port Mann Highway #1 contractor who managed the recycling of the steel. 18,000 tonnes was recovered from the old bridge and sent for recycling locally in British Columbia. It’s final destination could be any number of locations around the world, and in any number of forms. Steel is one of the most re-used commodities in the world and it’s used in everything from cars and boats to buildings and, possibly, even new bridges.

      Reply
      • Hello,

        While it is commendable that TransBC has recycled the steel, most do not realize that 1,000’s of tonnes of concrete are still sitting abandoned in the Pitt River. More than 5 years have passed and yet there the old bridge deck sits, occupying the entire eastern bank of the Pitt from the Alouette river to the Pitt River bridge at highway 7. This eye sore needs to go. Waterfowl are avoiding this prime habitat because the old hulk blocks the entire shoreline from open access to the river. Migrating salmon no longer have access to the holding pools to rest out of the main current on their upstream migration. Salmon fry are now swept directly out into the Fraser and open ocean because they cannot access the holding pools where they can grow to size that will ensure ocean survival.

        Please tell me who owns this old deck and who is responsible for disposing of it properly. It really needs to leave its present location as both fin and feather are being negatively impacted in a very significant manner.

        Thanks,
        SJE

        Reply
        • Hi Steven,

          The component in the Pitt River is part of the State Route 520 Bridge deck which was once the world’s longest floating bridge. Part of the bridge was floated up from Seattle when it was decommissioned sometime in 2016.

          Please connect with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Transport Canada or the True North Operations Group, to share your thoughts or receive further information. This article from the Maple Ridge News provides further details: https://www.mapleridgenews.com/news/bridge-from-afar-moored-in-pitt-meadows/

          Reply