High Level Bridge at Lethbridge: longest-highest of its kind in the world

High Level Railway Bridge-Lethbridge

I’m in Lethbridge, Alberta this week while my wife attends university. My exploring has taken me to the Galt Museum and Archives (www.galtmuseum.com) which concentrates on the history of the area and it is fascinating.

Today I’ll tell you about the longest-highest railway bridge of its kind in the world, the CP Rail High Level Bridge. Completed in 1909 it was built to replace 20 wooden bridges and shortened an existing route from Fort McLeod to Lethbridge. It spans the Oldman River valley. The construction of the bridge was named a National Historic Event in 2005.

Length: 1 mile, 47 feet
Height: 314 feet
Cost in 1909: $1,334,525

Time to complete: 2-years (some delays due to flooding in 1908)

Unique feature: Railway track is nestled between two girder beams instead of running on top of them. This makes it practically impossible for derailed cars to leave the bridge deck.

This bridge is very much in use today and is inspected regularly.

Recommended reading:
Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge at Lethbridge, Johnston, Dr. Alex, Occasional Paper #46 published by Lethbridge Historical Society, 2008

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