British Columbia Gets a New Bridge

September 22, 1986

The Alex Fraser Bridge was officially opened in Canada. This cable-stayed bridge carries British Columbia Highway 91 over the Fraser River and connects the cities of Richmond and New Westminster with the community of North Delta in the metropolitan region of Vancouver, British Columbia. The northern end of the bridge is on Annacis Island in the district municipality of Delta while the southern end is in North Delta.

This bridge is a linchpin of a highways network in British Columbia that links Vancouver with the U.S. city of Blaine in Washington State. “Among British Columbia’s major achievements of the 1980s, the Alex Fraser Bridge and its systems of connecting highways and interchanges – known as the Annacis System – will take their place as a world class engineering feat meeting the needs of the province well into the 21st Century,” reported the British Columbia-based Chilliwack Progress a few days before the opening of the bridge.

The bridge was named in honor of Alexander Vaughan “Alex” Fraser, who had been appointed British Columbia’s Minister of Highways & Transportation in 1979. (The river over which the bridge passes was not named after him but rather explorer Simon Fraser, who had charted most of what became British Columbia).

Since throat cancer surgery earlier in the year had left Alex Fraser voiceless, his wife Gertrude read prepared remarks on his behalf during the early-afternoon dedication ceremony for the bridge. Alex Fraser and British Columbia Premier Bill Vander Zahn jointly used large hedge shears to cut a red ribbon to formally open the new structure to traffic.

At the time of its debut, the 8,284-foot (2,525-meter)-long Alex Fraser Bridge – also known as the Annacis Bridge — was the world’s longest cable-stayed bridge. It would retain that record until the completion of the Skarnsund Bridge in Norway in 1991.

For more information on the Alex Fraser Bridge, please check out





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