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The Westminster Bridge Road, 1904

December 14, 2011

“The combined railway and traffic bridge built over the Fraser River, at New Westminster, was formally opened by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor, with appropriate ceremony, on the 22nd of July, 1904, but it was not fully completed until the 4th of October following, when the bridge was thrown open for traffic of all kinds.”       -Dept.  of Public Works

Westminster Bridge Completed 1904
The Westminster Bridge on Fraser River “Completed” —Photo from Bridge Opening Souvenir – Vancouver Public Library

The Fraser River Bridge, or Westminster Bridge, included a plank roadway above the tracks for wagons and pedestrians. Designed for motor vehicles to use the rail deck, in practice autos also passed over the upper level.

The designer of the superstructure of the Fraser River Bridge was JAL Waddell of the firm Waddell & Hedrick, Kansas City, responsible for the design of hundreds of bridges worldwide, many of which served both rail and road traffic.

Road onto Westminster Bridge - South Side

The road descending from  Westminster Bridge, south end

The roadway left the Bridge on the upstream side at the south end, descending to near the Indian Church on the Reserve, then passed under the trestle of the Great Northern Railway. On the right at the roadside stood the hostelry of Johnny Wise, who had removed his establishment from Brownsville. Wise would enhance his Hotel and stables with a retail liquor store and an adjacent gasoline filling station for the autos which were passing by with increasing frequency. A planked Bridge Road carried traffic to the Yale Road.

Westminster Bridge Road underpass

The Bridge Road underpass and the start of the on-ramp to Westminster Bridge, south end

Westminster Bridge road underpass 2011
The Westminster Bridge road underpass in 2011, with clearing underway for highway improvements.
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