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1st Avenue South
Downtown Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
T1J 4L9
Phone: 403-329-6777
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High Level Bridge

The bridge is the longest-highest of its type in the world. This means that the design, called a viaduct by CPR bridge engineers, reached culmination in the Lethbridge bridge. There are similar bridges that are longer or higher, but none have the combination of length - height shown by the Lethbridge structure. 

The bridge is 5,327 feet (1,623 meters) in length (one mile plus 47 feet). It is 314 feet (95.7 meters) in height above the bed of the river. The West end is 21.31 feet higher than the East end. The east end is 3,800 feet West of what was the Lethbridge Station.

Quantities used in construction were:

Concrete: 17.090 cubic yards

Steel: 12,436 tons

Field Rivets: 328,000 (to fasten the steel together)

Paint: 7,600 gallons (for 2 coats)

Cost: $1,334,525.00

Approximately 900 carloads of material were used in the construction.

The bridge was built in 1907 - 1909. Steel work took about a year to complete and was finished on June 22, 1909. The bridge officially opened November 1, 1909. At the time of construction it was described as one of the "wonders of the world." The construction of the bridge and the expansion of the rail yards was a pivotal development in the history of Lethbridge.

The bridge replaced 20 wooden bridges, with about 15.0 million board feet of timber. It shortened the railway to Fort Macleod and greatly lessened the grade. Only half loads could be carried on the first Crowsnest Pass line, which followed Mayor Magrath Drive. Full loads could be carried on the new line.

The company that procured the construction contract and designed the bridge was the Dominion Bridge Company of Walkerville, Ontario. 100 men were hired to work on the project. John E. Schweitzer, the CP senior engineer of the western lines, proposed a steel viaduct to span the river valley. C.N. Monsarrat of Montreal designed the bridge. C.C. Schneider of Philadelphia was the consulting engineer. F. St. LeClaire Farran was in charge of construction, and Blair Ripley of the field work. F.M. Young was the CP engineer responsible for initial surveys.

The railway bridge is till in use. There is absolutely NO WALKING ON THE BRIDGE! All access is prohibited.  


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