Ferries were used to transport
vehicles, equipment, people and livestock across the Peace at Fort Vermilion
between 1916 and September 19, 1974. On that date, the Fort Vermilion Bridge was opened and the ferry
took its last run, right under the new bridge.
Times have changed. No longer do
travelers catch up on the news and swap stories while waiting for the ferry. Ice
bridge safety and the uncertainty at spring break-up are not the same concerns
that they were before the bridge was built.
The bridge was engineered to resist extreme ice forces (1,600,000 pounds per pier). The depth of the steel pilings below the stream bed is about 39 feet (11.7 meters). Two of the four pilings are on bedrock. The width of the bridge is 35 feet (10.5 metres) and of the road is 28 feet (8.4 metres). Bridge length is 1745 feet (524 metres).
The bridge cost six million dollars ($6,000,000). Open welded box girders were used to reduce material amount and cost. Each girder spans about 365 feet (190.5 metres) believed to be the largest spans of this type in North America at the time.
At the bridge site, the Peace River is about 400 yards (372 metres) wide and 22 feet (6.9 metres) deep in a normal year. It can flood to 57 feet. Flow rates are normally 40, 000 cubic feet per second (11,350 cubic metres/second). This can increase by ten times during flood conditions.
Located nearby are the Bridge Plaque, the Bicentennial
Highway Sign, and the Bridge Campsite.
Photos by Marilee Cranna Toews, Fort Vermilion
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Acknowledgements: Summer Career Placement Program staff, Keith Klassen
(2004/2005) & Jordan Lambert (2006) and
Cranna Toews of the Fort Vermilion Agricultural Society