Westham Island Bridge

The Westham Island Bridge is a partially single-lane, wood-deck truss bridge located in Ladner, British Columbia.[1] The bridge passes over Canoe Pass in the Fraser River Estuary and connects Ladner with Westham Island. The bridge's length is approximately 325 m (1066 feet). The bridge was constructed between 1909 and 1912 and has undergone extensive refitting over the years.[1]

Westham Island Bridge
Westham island bridge.jpg
Westham Island Bridge, looking northward.
Coordinates49°04′50″N 123°07′44″W / 49.080423°N 123.128865°W / 49.080423; -123.128865Coordinates: 49°04′50″N 123°07′44″W / 49.080423°N 123.128865°W / 49.080423; -123.128865
CarriesOne lane of Westham Island Road
CrossesCanoe Pass
LocaleDelta, British Columbia
Maintained byTransLink
Total length325 m[1]
Height4.38 m
Construction start1909
OpenedMarch 29, 1910


Electrical operation of the swing span was adapted in 1974. Previous to that time the bridge was manually operated by lifting a steel plate in the deck of the bridge and inserting a ten-foot bar into a lever. The operator would walk in a clockwise circle to open the span for marine traffic and then reverse the operation to close. The bridge still has this manual capacity. Remarkably a single-armed gentleman operated the bridge in this fashion until the age of 71, retiring when the electrical motor was installed.[2] TransLink, the regional transportation authority, is responsible for the bridge, which opens on request for marine traffic. Vessels should call the bridge operator on VHF channel 74.[3]


Part of the bridge consists of one of the few remaining wooden 'Howe Trusses' in existence and has been recognized and storied by both 'Canadian' and 'National' Geographic Societies. It is an occasional chosen location for film and TV productions. One of the most famous was an episode of the X-Files TV series, "Kill Switch".[4] The bridge is a favourite of photographers in general and particularly bird-watchers as Westham Island Road is also the only route by road to the Riefel Island Bird Sanctuary. It is one of the oldest swing-bridges operating in BC.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c "Rehabilitation of Westham Island Bridge and Alexandra Bridge". SeaBC. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Westham 100: Spanning the Century". September 2009. Retrieved January 21, 2021.
  3. ^ Harbour Operations Manual (PDF), Port Metro Vancouver, January 2014, p. 30, retrieved January 21, 2021
  4. ^ Staff (May 8, 2014). "#WhatsTheLink: Westham Island Bridge, star of the big and small screen". Vancouver Observer. Retrieved January 21, 2021.

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