Park Bridge, Golden BC

Park Bridge in construction, 2006. Kicking Horse Canyon, east of Golden, BC

One of the most spectacular bridges on the Trans-Canada is the new (2007) Park Bridge on the descent into Golden.  Now that it is open you barely know you are on a bridge, so wide and smooth is it, but during the several years of its construction you drove on the old highway underneath it (the highway and the CPR tracks show in the image above).  The central piers are about 150 feet high, tall and elegant; from the old highway it was clear we were all going to pitch off into space way up the hill, shoot across the ravine and catch the hill on the other side, bypassing the dangerous twisting old road all together.  You can't see any of this now from the new road, it is all just more highway, safe and fast and that marvellous registration of the extreme topography is lost. 

Anything under construction is so exciting.  It is when concept, theory and practice are all evident to the eye, and the architecture, in its widest sense, is diagrammatic and understandable.  Construction workers give the scale, one understands the size of the project.  Once it is all done, scale is subsumed by a comfortable opacity, the process of building has become an object, with a function, and we use it unthinkingly.

Placing the girders on the piers

This photo is from the Park Bridge girder launching on the Kicking Horse Canyon highway construction website photo gallery.  This is the link to the girder launching, but the rest of the site is worth a look.