Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park, located north of Yale on Highway 1, provides an interesting place to stop in the Fraser Canyon. An interpretative display gives picnickers an idea of the canyon’s history. The canyon was a major obstacle to transportation developers who needed to link Interior locales with the rapidly urbanizing coastal settlements, and it has seen the passing of Simon Fraser; the road building of the Royal Engineers; the fur brigade; thousands of gold seekers; railway, highway, and bridge builders; and early truckers.
Since the Cariboo Gold Rush days of the 1860s, a strategically located bridge has spanned the Fraser River here. The original, Joseph Trutch’s spectacular suspension bridge, opened in 1862. A second Alexandra Bridge washed out in the flood of 1887; a subsequent replacement built in 1925 is now a neglected relic.
Since 1965, travellers on Highway 1 cross the river downstream from the park over a four-lane, orange-arched beauty. Look up the canyon from here and you’ll get a quick glimpse of its silver-coated predecessor, which still has some flash left in its boiler-plate finish. The old bridge leads nowhere and, like a monument desecrated by rebellion, has been stripped of officialdom. Graffiti-scratching day trippers took over when the old bridge was decommissioned. One of oldest of the many well-preserved markings reads, Eddie’s getting married ’65.
If you’ve got a morning or afternoon to dally away, picnic on the old Alexandra Bridge’s honeycomb plated-steel deck or at one of the picnic tables in the park. They are sheltered by towering Douglas fir, whereas the bridge sits in the open. Take your pick. A road leads from the parking lot to the old Alexandra Bridge, a five-minute walk from the picnic area.
Alexandra Bridge Provincial Park is located in Spuzzum, about 14 miles (22 km) north of Yale on Trans-Canada Highway 1, near the Fraser River in Southern British Columbia.
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