Lion's Gate Bridge - Straight out of Atlas Shrugged

Posted by  $  hash 4 years, 5 months ago to History
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Amazing documentary about the Lion's Gate Bridge in Vancouver. It was built privately by a real estate developer in 1938, after many years of dogged determination. Entirely for private profit, at zero cost to taxpayers! The story is complete with the inevitable crony-politics blocking the approval of the bridge for many years.

It was built within 18 months, to mind-blowing standards. It came in under budget, and remains to this day a marvel of both aesthetics and engineering. Shipping in the Burrard Inlet was closed to traffic for only 2.5 hours while the first cables were towed across!

It is pretty much the real-life version of the Rearden Metal bridge from Atlas. And definitely one of the most beautiful bridges I've ever seen.
SOURCE URL: https://www.knowledge.ca/program/lions-gate-bridge-spanning-time


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  • Posted by  $  Your_Name_Goes_Here 4 years, 5 months ago
    "...you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

    Just repeat after me: nothing is possible without our benevolent government, nothing is possible without our benevolent government, nothing is possible without our benevolent government...
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      Posted by Boothby171 4 years, 5 months ago
      Don't forget, included in that "you didn't build that" reference is the knowledge that the bridge (in this case) was built using steels wrought to certain government-imposed standards. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

      Or, you could just buy your crappy steel from China, and watch itself tear itself up (good ol' interlaminar shear!).

      That whole "you didn't build that" thing was an attempt to get people to acknowledge the infrastructure. The "little people," you know! Like most of us are, even though we want to think (and want others to think) that the universe revolves around us, and that our s%#& don't stink.
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      • Posted by mccannon01 4 years, 5 months ago
        Uhm, in the '30s they didn't get steel from China. It was likely American, which was the best mass produced steel in the world up to that time and beyond (since the Civil War, at least). By the time this bridge was built American steel was in buildings and bridges all over the world. The building of the Eiffel Tower put the world on notice that when it came to quality steel production, American s%#& didn't stink!
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        • Posted by Boothby171 4 years, 5 months ago
          The American Institute of Steel Construction started in 1921. They helped build that.

          You're welcome.
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          • Posted by  $  4 years, 5 months ago
            Even if they did, which is totally unsubstantiated, it's a private, non-government, free market institution. So the government still did not have anything to do with it. In fact, as I mentioned, the government's main involvement was to block the approval of the bridge (on false pretexts basically to protect the investments of other real estate developers) for longer than it took to construct it.

            We can thank them for that if you like.
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  • Posted by DaveM49 4 years, 5 months ago
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYNA0DlNN... YouTube has some footage of the bridge being built, of which this appears to be the best. I was not able to find the Canadian documentary or anything about the intrigue behind the construction.

    The section of AS describing the John Galt Line contains one of my all-time favorite (presumably deliberately) stupid remarks: "How is a 3000 ton bridge supposed to support a 12000 ton train?" (I think I have the numbers right). If the carrying capacity of a bridge was limited by its weight, no bridge would be able to support any weight other than its own!
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    • Posted by  $  4 years, 5 months ago
      Thanks for that link. It has some really incredible footage of how they accomplished this all without ever affecting traffic in the shipping lane under the bridge.
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    • Posted by mccannon01 4 years, 5 months ago
      Thanks for the link, DaveM49. Nice video. When I click on the video in the original article posted above all I get is the message: "This video can only be viewed in Canada" and the video will not run.
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  • Posted by Herb7734 4 years, 5 months ago
    New road construction a few miles from my home. Part was done by the city using a private contractor, part done by the county. Without going into the politics and just casual observation, here's what I saw. The private contractor's equipment wasn't new but clean and shiny. No messes, the working area was always clean. Completed in 6 weeks with minimum traffic diversions. The county's equipment always looked dirty, rusty and ready for retirement. The roads were muddy, the traffic was a mess. Weeks went by with no progress. Finished in around 6 months. It was classic government VS private construction. I wish I was able to memorialize it with photography, but I probably would have gotten flattened by traffic. Parody of Ronaldo Magnus: "I'm from the government, I'm here to screw it up."
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  • Posted by eddieh 4 years, 5 months ago
    Love the bridge photo. I can't help but wonder if Ayn had seen it or at least heard about it.
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    • Posted by  $  4 years, 5 months ago
      I wonder about that too.

      Interestingly, Michael Burns of Lions Gate Entertainment (which is named after the bridge) had at one time planned to fund and distribute an Atlas Shrugged movie, with potential cast members including Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, and Anne Hathaway.

      (Luckily we got Taylor Schilling, Samantha Mathis and Laura Regan instead :-)

      Lions Gate Entertainment also produced Mad Men, which has a great Atlas Shrugged reference in it, as well as Orange Is The New Black, starring Taylor Schilling.
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