It’s not unusual to see extremely large structures make their way onto or off of vessels on the Columbia River in Vancouver, whether it’s 50-meter luxury yachts launching at the Marine Park marina or 250-foot wind turbine blades being unloaded at the Port of Vancouver.
But even by Vancouver’s standards, moving around a 360-foot-long, 2.7-million-pound steel truss is an eye-catching feat. So it’s perhaps not surprising that a small crowd of Vancouverites gathered to watch Monday evening as crews worked late into the night to transfer a newly-built railroad bridge from the Vigor industrial yard at the Columbia Business Center to a waiting barge in the Columbia River.
The bridge is bound for Drano Lake, about 60 miles east of Vancouver on the north side of the Columbia River, where it will replace a 113-year-old bridge that carries the BNSF Railway line across the mouth of the lake where it empties into the Columbia.
The big move
The bridge drew public attention over the past several months as it slowly took shape in the Vigor industrial fabrication lot behind the Marine Park Way boat launch ramp. The audience of local railroad enthusiasts arrived Monday evening well ahead of the 7 p.m. time when the towering steel structure was scheduled to begin making its way onto the barge.
The barge was docked at an inlet connected to the industrial yard, and the bridge had already been lined up for the transfer, mounted on two pairs of 40-wheel self-propelled flatbed trailers. Crews spent the first couple of evening hours building a ramp from the edge of the yard down to the barge deck.