Engineers bridge the gap

2Lt Chris Beneteau 6 Engineer Squadron, Western Sentinel, 26 May 2011

“The exercise provided the opportunity for members of the community to meet with their local soldiers.”

In April, 39 Combat Engineer Regiment (39CER) conducted Exercise Bridge Builder in Mahon Park, North Vancouver.

Only a stone’s throw away from the J.P. Fell Armoury, the urban setting was the perfect site to display the bridging capabilities of the Army Reserve on the North Shore.

The exercise provided the opportunity for members of the community to meet and interact with their local soldiers.

Exercise Bridge Builder, part of 6 Engineer Squadron’s 100th Anniversary celebration, was designed to showcase bridging expertise and emergency response capabilities. The regiment was divided into two teams: one team was tasked with the construction of a 4-bay Medium Girder Bridge (MGB) while the other undertook the installation of a 1911 vintage sling-bridge.

The MGB is the modern bridging system employed by the Canadian Military Engineers.

In its double-storey configuration, the MGB can span gaps of 31 metres and is rated for loads of up to 70 tons, sufficient to withstand a main battle tank. 39 CER was successful in completing its 4-bay construction.

Local officials were on hand to lay the final piece of panelling and inspect the bridge. City of North Vancouver Mayor Darryl Mussatto and District of North Vancouver Councillor Robin Hicks were suitably impressed by the sight of the fully-assembled bridge and praised the efforts of 39 CER.

The historical bridge was re-created based on archived blueprints uncovered by the Regiment and its construction was the first of its kind in recent memory.

The sling bridge was first designed in 1911, and employed by the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in the First World War.

Over the course of that war, 6th Field Company from North Vancouver, the predecessor of the current 6 Engineer Squadron, trained more than 4200 soldiers in the very same park in the construction of the sling bridge.

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