Arvida Aluminium Bridge

Where: Saguenay, PQ.

Engineer: Dominion Bridge Company

Date of construction: 1950

Arvida Bridge. (Source: Wikimedia)


Site Location: Lat.: 48° – 26’ – 20” N.; Long.: 71° – 13’ – 13” W. (GPS: 48.4445808, -71.2202469). Travelling north on Quebec Highway 175, turn left (west) onto QC-170 Ouest (signs for Jonquière). Proceed 10.2 km and turn right (north) on Boulevard René Lévesque/QC-372 Est (Signs for Quebec 372 E). Continue 2.1 km and turn right (east) on Boulevard du Saguenay/QC-372 E. After 1.2 km, turn a sharp left (north west) onto Route du Pont and proceed 2.2 km to the bridge.

Plaque Location: The plaque is located on the south face of a pedestal supporting a decorative pillar on the north side of the east end of the bridge.

Plaque location, beneath decorative pillar at north side of east end of bridge. (Source: M. Fafard)


Description: The Arvida Aluminium Bridge carries Rue du Pont across a branch of the Saguenay River just south west of the Shipshaw II Hydroelectric Power Station. Opened in 1950. It has a total length of 154 m (504 ft.). The main span is a parabolic arch with a span of 91.5 m (300 ft.) and a rise of 33 m (108 ft.). The Dominion Bridge Company designed and fabricated the bridge, which was erected by Pic Construction of Jonquière and supervised by the Montreal consulting firm of Surveyer, Nenniger and Chênevert. The aluminium was provided by the Aluminum Company of Canada Limited.

The bridge opening on July 16, 1950, by Maurice Duplessis, premier of Quebec, and Joseph Lévesque, Sainte-Thérèse parish priest. (Source: Canada Research Chair on urban heritage, UQÀM)


Historic Significance: The Arvida Bridge is the first in the world to be constructed entirely of aluminum. It weighs 163 tonnes, less than half the weight of a comparable steel bridge. The deck arch form was selected because it preserves the natural beauty of the site. The Dominion Bridge Company Limited designed, fabricated and erected iconic metal structures for a century starting in 1886. The consulting firm Surveyer Nenninger and Chênevert evolved to become SNC and, today, SNC-Lavalin.

Plaque detail. (Source: M. Fafard)


Plaque Wording: Site Historique National de Génie Civil. SCGC. LE PONT D’ALUMINIUM D’ARVIDA. Construction 1949-50. En hommage aux ingénieurs qui ont conçu et construit le pont d’aluminium d’Arvida. Inauguré le 16 juillet 1950, il est le premier pont d’aluminium à longue portée au monde. Ce pont en arc à tablier supérieur a été construit pour promouvoir la diversification des produits de l’aluminium et pour démontrer la force structurelle de ce métal. Aluminium fourni par Aluminium Company of Canada Limited. Ingénieurs conseil Surveyor, Nenninger & Chênevert. Concepteurs et fabricants de la structure Dominion Bridge Company Limited. Entrepreneur général Pic Construction Company Limited. La Société canadienne de Génie Civil. 2008

National Historic Civil Engineering Site. CSCE. ARVIDA ALUMINIUM BRIDGE.1949-1950 constructed. A tribute to the civil engineers who designed and constructed this aluminium bridge in Arvida. Opened on July 16, 1950, this was the first long-span aluminium arch bridge in the world. The bridge was built in part to promote and demonstrate the diverse applications and structural strength of aluminium. Aluminium Company of Canada Limited Provider of Aluminium. Surveyor, Nenninger & Chênevert Consulting Engineers. Dominion Bridge Company Limited Structural Designers and Fabricators. Pic Construction Company Limited General Contractor. Canadian Society for Civil Engineering. 2008.