New Pathways to Gold Society has launched a campaign to preserve the historic Alexandra Bridge in the Fraser Canyon.
The aging structure is currently deemed safe, but requires some repairs to bring it up to current building standards. Deterioration of cement and caps on the bridge towers that hold the cables in place specifically need to be addressed. The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure has completed an assessment of the bridge and results are expected to be released by spring.
“We just want to see the bridge kept for its historical significance,” said Terry Raymond, co-chair of New Pathways. “It is such an attraction. The loss would mean an important piece of history would be lost forever to the province. A lot of significance of the park would be lost as well.”
Riley Forman, who runs the local tourism website travelthecanyon.com, is helping New Pathways raise awareness about the campaign and plans to release a YouTube video series next spring.
“Before the planning stages take place with the Alexandra Bridge, we want to make as big of an impact as we can,” said Forman, who was behind the Save the Rambo Bridge movement in Hope. “To actually build history and culture, we have to stop destroying it. This is one of the very few and last pieces of our building blocks we have. The Alexandra Bridge is definitely a priceless asset.”
Alexandra Bridge was built in 1926 to replace the original wagon bridge constructed by the Royal Engineers in 1861. It has served as a Hudson’s Bay Company trading route and part of the Cariboo Road.
While New Pathways awaits the assessment results, the society plans to continue its work with Spuzzum First Nation to upgrade Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park facilities. Improvements focus on the Highway 1 pullout and include a revamped information kiosk, new picnic tables and wheelchair accessible washrooms. Enhanced interpretive signs throughout the park is also a project priority.