Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Port Mann Bridge opening unites generations

Notre Dame teacher connects with worker of the original bridge

Peter Vogel presents Lou Lessard with a 1964 Port Mann Bridge opening
medallion Dec. 1 inside the B.C. Ministry of Transportation building
overlooking the new Port Mann Bridge.
At the opening ceremony Dec. 1 for the new Port Mann Superbridge I was fortunate to meet Lou Lessard. Although I didn't know him personally, I certainly knew of him. Lou was one of the workers on the day tragedy struck on the construction site of what is now known as the Ironworkers Memorial Crossing at Second Narrows, about twenty kilometres down the road from the Port Mann Bridge. His experiences that day are recounted in the book Tragedy at Second Narrows.

Lou also worked on the original Port Mann Bridge, the steel arch structure that will be removed next year.

I had with me that day a memorial medallion in my pocket (still in its original enclosure) that was struck to commemorate the opening of that original bridge back in 1964. I decided then and there to present it to Lou. He was quite emotional about this, and had in fact never seen one of these medallions. I had acquired it several years ago.

Peter Vogel teaches Physics at Notre Dame Regional High School in Vancouver and contributes to The B.C. Catholic with his column Tech Wise.

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