Those who drive the Fraser Canyon highway are familiar with the second and third Alexandra bridges above Spuzzum, as both still exist. It was recently announced that the New Pathways to Gold Society has received a grant of $500,000 for restoration and repair work of the second bridge, which sits just upstream of the current one.
The first bridge spanning the river at the site was started on June 16, 1862 and completed on Sept. 1, 1863. Overseeing the building was Commissioner of Public Works Joseph Trutch, who had the licence to collect tolls at the site (the tollhouse was located on the west bank of the Fraser River). The bridge remained in service until it was badly damaged by flooding in 1894, which washed away much of the decking.
By that point it had fallen into disuse following the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the mid-1880s, and in 1912 the suspension cables were cut to prevent the bridge’s use by pedestrians, leaving only the piers. It was not until the mid-1920s, and the rise of the automobile, that a new road was constructed through the region, meaning that a replacement bridge was needed.
The new (second) Alexandra Bridge was built, using the abutments from the original bridge. It remained in use until the building of the Trans-Canada Highway and the new (third) bridge, which opened in 1964.