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Design and Construction of the Sir Ambrose Shea Vertical Lift Bridge Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador


On September 23, 2016, the new Sir Ambrose Shea Vertical Lift Bridge located in the Province of
Newfoundland and Labrador on the east coast of Canada opened to traffic. It was built as a
replacement to an existing structure constructed in 1961 that had reached the end of its useful life. It is comprised of three spans, with a centre movable span (vertical lift span) flanked by two simple fixed composite plate girder spans. The towers for this lift bridge are comprised of a three-dimensional steel truss shaped representative of sails. Each tower component is connected by a three-dimensional exoskeleton truss housing the machinery operating the lift span.
In addition to being aesthetically pleasing with architecture reflecting the local culture and tourism
potential of the region, the new bridge is designed to be durable, efficient and reliable. The new bridge was constructed adjacent to the existing bridge in order to minimize disruption to navigation and road traffic.
This paper discusses the bridge design and construction starting with the design aspects of the bridge including: movable bridge types considered; alternative lift span systems; foundation options; bridge architecture; mechanical components; durability; and constructability aspects of the design.
The bridge foundations, approach spans, and towers were constructed using temporary trestles and cranes and the lift span was assembled on a barge and lifted into position. The construction duration spanned over a period of three years and had to accommodate the harsh environmental conditions including high winds, tide, and fast currents.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Ajrab, J.
McCall, J.
Power, D.