Canadian Consulting Engineer

Golden Ears Bridge almost ready

In a city littered with megasize construction projects, the largest transportation project of all in metropolitan Vancouver should be ready to open to traffic by June, if not earlier.

January 1, 2009   Canadian Consulting Engineer

In a city littered with megasize construction projects, the largest transportation project of all in metropolitan Vancouver should be ready to open to traffic by June, if not earlier.

The Golden Ears Bridge is the first direct link across the Fraser River between Langley and Surrey on the south shore and the mainly residential municipalities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows to the north.

Named after a nearby mountain range and decked out with eagle sculptures, the crossing has six lanes and is over a kilometre long. It will be the longest extradosed cable-stayed bridge in North America and the second of this type to be built in Canada, following the recent completion of the Canada Line North Arm Bridge. Both were designed by Buckland and Taylor.

The Golden Ears Bridge is built of lightweight composite material to ease the seismic loads on the foundations. One of the project’s main challenges was designing foundations in this area of weak soils.

The project includes a host of ancillary projects in the bridge’s vicinity, such as 13 kilometres of main roads, 11 kilometres of local street reconstruction, and 17 new bridges and viaducts. CH2M HILL (Ken Rebel, P. Eng. and Arun Khatri, P. Eng.) is lead geotechnical and structural designer for several of the overpasses and viaducts. One is the 815-metre Meadowtown Viaduct, a complex multi-span structure with varying skew foundations to carry it over a railway and vehicle traffic below.

Costing $900-million, the entire project is being done as a design-build contract for the owner TransLink by a joint venture of Bilfinger Berger (Canada) and CH2M HILL Canada. TransLink has a 35-year agreement with Bilfinger Berger BOT to finance, design build, maintain and rehabilitate the toll bridge. The owner’s engineers are Associated Engineering and Collings Johnston.

The bridge will cut down travel times to downtown Vancouver by up to half an hour, eliminating the need to go via the Port Mann Bridge.


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