Climbing the Port Mann Bridge Tower

A few Fridays ago, Derek and I had the opportunity to film some video footage from one of the best vantage points in the lower mainland. As part of a corporate video we are working on, we thought it would be awesome to capture some time-lapses and overviews from the 150 meters high South Tower of the Port Mann Bridge. This would give some nice angles overlooking Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster all the way through to Surrey and even glimpses of Langley and Coquitlam. Having done a few long ladder climbs myself, I got very excited and had no issues with waking up fairly early. Although I should admit that Derek got up a few hours before me to photograph the sunrise as well.

Derek on HOV lane
Derek about to hop over the barriers

Of course it’s not just a matter of climbing up there. Before we headed towards the Port Mann bridge, we met up at the TReO Toll Centre located in Coquitlam for a briefing and a safety meeting. Once everybody had acquired the appropriate safety gear and there was a clear plan of action, we made our way to the vehicle. The first thing I was wondering was regarding the entry point to the tower. It’s inaccessible from the ground level. It turns out that they closed the HOV lane off, so that we could stop in the middle of the bridge deck. From there we hopped over the barriers and voila, we have now arrived at the entrance off the mighty South Tower.

Filling in Safety paperwork
Filling in the final details

After we filled in some more paperwork and learned about additional safety precautions, I couldn’t help but to feel a slight hint of nervousness through my body. By now you might wonder how dangerous that climb can be. Well, I don’t want to spoil the tension, but it was hardly to be mentioned a climb. You see, there is an actual elevator shaft inside of the tower that takes you most of the way up. There is still a short ladder that needs to be climbed, but at this point you are surrounded by concrete and there is no visual exposure to how high up you actually are.

Once we climbed the final steps on the ladder, we stepped out onto this big top platform. There was quite some machinery, but fortunately everything was safely fenced off and there was plenty of space to walk around. The views were breathtaking. It was a relatively clear day and the snow was still covering the mountain tops. Both Derek and I looked our eyes out for a few minutes until we realized that we were actually there to do some work. So we got rid of the idea of folding out some lawn-chairs and instead we started setting up our cameras.

View from South Tower
We were given some magnificent views

It’s not every time you get to do these things, so we figured we should take a little camera on the way and videotape the day for you to enjoy!

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