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Quebec Bridge

The infamous Quebec Bridge spans the St.Lawrence River between Quebec City and Levis. It is the longest cantilever bridge in the world with a centre span of 1800 feet and a total length of 3239 feet and an estimated 65,000 tons. First incorporated as the Quebec Bridge Co. in 1887 it later became Quebec Bridge and Railway Co. in 1903. Built for the National Transcontinental it became part of Canadian Government Railways and later, Canadian National Railways and remains in daily use by CN and VIA.

The bridge was near completion when on August 29, 1907 it collapsed killing 75 workers. It was faulty in design since it was far under built and unable to support its own weight by far let alone a train! Two engineers were faulted for their bad judgement in constructing it.

Work began anew and as this article details it was largely completed when just FOUR DAYS later on September 11, 1916 it colllapsed once again this time killing 89 workers! This was blamed on an incompetent engineer. Some years later came the creation of Professional Engineers (P.Eng.) a designation earned and regulated by the government. Graduates received an "iron ring" (worn on pinky finger) said to have been made from a piece of the first fallen bridge.

The bridge was finally completed in August 1919 and opened December 3, 1919 after some 30 years costing $25 Million ($340 Million today) and 89 workers lives. Only one worker was killed by 1916 working on the then current bridge.




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