15 June 2009
Celebrations yesterday marked the completion of the Golden Ears Bridge in Vancouver, Canada. Tens of thousands of pedestrians packed the bridge for a day of entertainment ahead of tomorrow's opening to traffic.
The five-span, 968m-long crossing of the Fraser River is a hybrid between an extradosed bridge and a cable-stayed bridge. It has been designed by Buckland & Taylor and built by Golden Crossing Joint Venture, which is a joint venture of Bilfinger Berger and CH2M Hill.
The design allows the pylons to be jacked up in the event of excessive settlement of the loose river sand. The south pylon is shorter and stiffer than the others and has been designed to prevent it from attracting more than its share of earthquake force. It rests on large vertical steel plates that reduce its stiffness and "tune" the pylon to respond to seismic effects more uniformly with the other pylons.
Golden Ears represents an adaption of Buckland & Taylor's Alex Fraser cable-stayed bridge, which was completed in the 1980s. The new bridge has a much lower profile and was designed for rapid construction - it has been built in just three years. Other features include a very light bridge deck framing system, reducing the seismic load on the foundations and substructure.