Golden Ears Bridge Opening: Mass Chaos


Sunday, June 14th 2009 marks the day that people from around Metro Vancouver got to walk across the newest bridge connecting Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge to Langley. What people didn’t realize is that well over the expected 30,000 showed up. Some numbers I have read recently this morning have been that 60,000 people showed up and eventually the Traffic Authority had to turn people away.

Robyn, myself, my little sister and my mum ventured to the Golden Ears Bridge at 11:00AM and joined the slowly increasing mass amounts of people on the bridge deck. The Traffic Authority had one side of the bridge closed off for bus, media and and event people access, which forced people to funnel up the one side of the bridge to the mid span.

Crazy Mass of People

People coming on the bridge

I thought it was pretty cool to walk over with the mass crowd towards Langley from the Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge side. There were various food and drink vendors along the way as well as various organizations such as Scouts, Beavers, and Vintage Car clubs too. A large stage was set up near the mid span to offer some entertainment from the massive crowd that began to slow foot traffic down.

Mid Span

We walked about 3/4 of the way over the bridge and decided to turn around and head back. The amount of people on the bridge seemed to have doubled if not triple as we made our way back towards Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

Brazilian Performers

I stopped to take photos of the Brazilian entertainment and people were pretty much at a standstill at this point. People were pushing, shoving which were making it harder for people to move across the bridge. The people around me were getting upset at the pushing and shoving as we tried to make our way back down the bridge, of course people were also trying to still get up on the bridge too. No control, just mass chaos.

Security and Sensors

We all got separated as the mass crowd pushed and shoved itself around. I eventually caught back up with Robyn near the end of the bridge where the crowd thinned out. My mum and little sister were waiting for us near the car. The Police and Traffic Authority at that time were telling people that they were not allowed on the bridge due to the large amount already on it. That definitely did not make more happy parents trying to do something fun with their children, but then again, children were also being pushed and shoved around on the bridge deck. The sun was also coming out and people were complaining about not moving and becoming overheated.

It wasn’t as spectacular of an event as I thought it might have been, and we are glad we didn’t venture all the way over to Langley either. We would have been stuck somewhere among the 60,000 or so people that were stuck on the bridge and not moving.

The bridge is toll free starting June 16th for 1 month, after that you will have to pay Toll to cross either way. On Wednesday I will drive across the bridge on my way into work as it should save me a great deal of time, though on the way home, it will be a nuisance due to traffic congestion near 152nd street in Surrey. It will definitely be neat driving over the new bridge though, but I will not be driving over it when the Toll goes into effect.

Did you manage to walk onto the bridge on Sunday or did you participate in one of the many Car Free Days that were happening around Vancouver?

Other photos from the Golden Ears Bridge event can be seen on my Flickr Photoset.

Filed under: Local News
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  • Kimm
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 09:30:42

    I walked over the 2road bridge back when it opened… so a bridge is a bridge to me..

    I kind of wished yesterdays temperate was not so hot for people who were there. They should have planned for 80,000 people to attend on a sunny day and a lot less on a crappy day not 30,000 after advertising it like crazy.

    Yet still no one has answered my question of how/when will be we be billed after we use it? Yearly with our car insurance or a monthly bill?

  • Tyler Ingram
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 09:39:22

    This might help you Kimm: Toll Payment Options

  • Tara
    Jun 15, 2009 @ 18:25:31

    My friend and I and our 4 children attended yesterday arriving around 12:15. We found that for the most part it was not too bad, the crowds were only bad right around the main stage in the middle, but even that only took us about 10 mins to get through and it was right as they cut the ribbon. We walked all the way from the Langley side to the Maple Ridge side and back without too much difficulty. In fact in many of our pictures there are huge spaces around us. We even got a shot of the kids laying in the middle of the road and there was no one else around. The kids were very excited about the passport stations and had a great time. Overall it was a fun free day for us.

  • Insurance
    Jun 23, 2009 @ 04:48:37

    It is really nice to walk on such a fly over with your family…. But you always have to be aware of things happening around you…… I am telling this because, I have personally experienced this in my life…..To be frank, I enjoyed myself walking on the bridge…..