Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing

Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing

The Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing, originally called and still commonly called the Second Narrows Bridge, is the second bridge constructed at the Second (east) Narrows of Burrard Inlet in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 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 original Second Narrows Bridge, which is now exclusively a rail bridge.

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 $15 million to build.

The bridge is 1292 metres (4239 ft) long with a centre span of 335 m (1099 ft). It is part of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1).

Collapse

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 (100 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 19. 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.

Renaming

The bridge was renamed the Ironworkers Memorial Second Narrows Crossing in 1994 to honour the 27 workers that lost their lives during its construction.

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 tune also appears on several later compilations).

Jimmy Dean's 1962 song "Steel Men" is a ballad about the Second Narrows bridge disaster.

Gary Geddes' 2007 book of poetry, entitled False Work is based on the collapse of the bridge.

See also

References

External links

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