At 3,051 feet long, and with a main center span of 1,525 feet, the Alex Fraser Bridge was the longest cable-stayed span in the world when it was completed in September 1986. It held that distinction in North America for nearly 20 years.
PCL’s team used self-climbing jump forms to construct the two main, 518-foot-high towers that support 192 main cables for this Vancouver landmark. Using the balanced cantilevered method over water proved extremely difficult thanks to an unstable deck, but the PCL team addressed the challenge by installing temporary bracing to prevent swaying over the icy waters.
Edge beams were installed, stretching out equally from each side of the towers and secured by cables. Floor beams spanned between the edge beams, and precast panels were placed on the steel grid to form the bridge deck. Derricks were erected on the decks to do the heavy lifting. A key to this method was the daily work plan, in which all movements of equipment and materials were carefully coordinated to ensure that the structure remained in balance.
The bridge was completed ahead of schedule and on budget, and is now an essential part of Vancouver’s infrastructure for commuter traffic.