Building a Vancouver Icon: The Lions Gate Bridge
Construction of Lions Gate Bridge
1937, 20th century
18 x 24 cm
This artefact belongs to : © North Vancouver Museum and Archives
Keys to History
Workers stabilized the suspension cables by bolting giant hexagonal clamps around them at regular intervals. This was no easy task. In the heat of the day, the strands of the top layers would writhe "like huge reptiles." They would expand, sag, buckle, twist and drop between the lower, cooler ones. To prevent this, the work had to be done when the temperature was uniform, usually at night with the aid of floodlights. Once the strands had been clamped together, they formed the two master cables that bore the weight of the bridge. The clamps had grooves that acted as saddles for the steel suspender ropes that would actually hold up the bridge deck. The workers performed their tasks from two long temporary catwalks, which had been suspended three feet below the height of the master cables as scaffolding. Pictures taken during construction show the men working without any safety gear.
This photograph shows a worker posing by one of the clamps designed to hold in place the 61 strands of a finished cable.
This shot was taken on the main span of the bridge, with the cable sloping down from the south tower.
The cable clamping was done during May of 1938.
The clamps were manufactured locally by the Vancouver Engineering Works Ltd., operators of the first steel foundry on the West Coast.