Pedestrian Bridge in place over the Illecillewaet… now for some decking

By David F. Rooney

The new pedestrian bridge over the Illecillewaet River, to be formally known as the Mark Kingsbury Bridge, was hoisted into place over the course of about 12 hours Tuesday.

The structure, designed to resemble a classic railway bridge, lacks decking and a few other odds and ends but should soon be complete.

Mayor David Raven, who endured several hours of watching the operation said the bridge is the culmination of about 10 years of work by Council, City staff and other people to see the project through to completion. He said the bridge is being named after Mark Kingsbury, the man who took command at Canadian Mountain Holidays after the demise of its founder,┬áHans Gmoser. Since his death, the foundation has been active in promoting economic development. The foundation’s seminal grant of $100,000 to this project enabled the City to leverage more than $500,000 in additional grant funding from the CBT, Towns for Tomorrow and other agencies. As a result, not a dime came from local taxpayers.

The bridge, which has been built b y Vic Van Isle, will enhance the experience of the hundreds of people who hike through the Greenbelt and who had long wished for a way to easily access the flats south of the Illecillewaet.

While you can also view a time-com pressed video of the operation on the front page, here is a series of photos of the bridge placement operation we hope you’ll enjoy:

Tuesday morning saw Vic Van Isle employees and contract workers tasked with placing the new Illecillewaet pedestrian bridge, which is to be formally named the Mark Kingsbury Bridge, on site at about 7:30 am for a safety briefing followed by what was optimistically hoped would be a four-to-six hour placement procedure. It turned out to be a much longer day for all concerned. This nonetheless is what you would have seen at 10:15 am. David F. Rooney photo
A handful of onlookers turned out in the morning but their numbers were whittled away before 11:30. Mayor David Raven watched most of the drawn-out placement procedure between 10:30 am and 4 pm. That's His Worship on the left. David F. Rooney photo
Placing the bridge properly is a big deal. One mistake and someone could be maimed or killed or the bridge structure itself damaged. It was to be placed in four separate "lifts involving two cranes. David F. Rooney photo
By 2 pm the crane on the north bank of the Illecillewaet was lifting the bridge and slowing swinging it toward the second crane on the south bank. David F. Rooney photo
It's about 2:45 and the second crane is carefully swinging into action. David F. Rooney photo
A worker on the south end of the bridge begins attaching its cloth-covered chains to the structure. David F. Rooney photo
It's almost 3 pm and both ends of the bridge are being hoisted by the cranes. David F. Rooney photo
By 4 pm the light is fading but work cannot be halted on the bridge placement. David F. Rooney photo
It's about 4:05 pm and workers are resetting the lifting chains on the northern end of the bridge so the crane can lift and swivel it into place. After about five hours standing around int he cold, I head home to get warm and have something to eat. David F. Rooney photo
6:55 and I am returning to the site. From about 50 metres away I can see that they have finally lifted into place. Rats! I missed the final lift. But them's the breaks. I can still see what it looks like. David F. Rooney photo
And here it is. The Mark Kingsbury Bridge in place at last. All it needs now is decking and a few other odds and ends to make it usable. David F. Rooney photo