The North Shore Bridges of Kamloops

This article written and researched by M. Colleen Stainton. Images reproduced with permission of the Kamloops Museum and Archives.Hover over image for photo credits, or see the list at the end of the article for the image notations in order of appearance.

Bridges over the North Thompson: CN and the Halston

The CN and Halston Bridges over the North Thompson River are the oldest and youngest of the current bridges of Kamloops

KMA Photo Collection 475-repaired by Camera House
The CNR Bridge at Halston is the oldest existing original bridge in Kamloops. The original Red Bridge that opened in 1887 was replaced in 1912 and again in 1936.

In 1909, the CNR filed plans to build a line from Edmonton to Kamloops down the Yellowhead route.. Realtors in B.C. Fruitlands and the City of Kamloops lobbied to sell land to the CNR for track, station, yards and bridges during which The Kamloops Indian Band remained silent. When the site of the station and rail yards was awarded to the Reserve, the disappointed City’s appeal was lost.

Tenders were assigned in 1912. A shortage of materials delayed the construction until 1913. The bridge is a 1200 ft long deck-girder bridge with twelve 93ft fixed spans and a central lift span. Both ends of the bridge are timber trestle construction. The lift span was counter-weighted, and powered with a gasoline engine that could raise the span in 100 seconds to provide 55 ft. clearance above high water. This lift was used infrequently after the opening in 1914. In 1937, CNR received permission to convert the bridge to a fixed structure.

The counterweights and the cabin under the bridge containing the mechanism were removed. In 1961 the CNR received permission to remove the towers but they remain providing a visual reminder of the original design.

Photo: Colleen Stainton

The Halston Bridge

The Halston Bridge connects the North Shore to The Yellowhead Highway, the Tk’emlúps lands and the City of Kamloops. The contract was awarded in April 1983 after being promised since the 1970’s. It is a concrete bridge 451 meters long with four lanes and one sidewalk. The Province paid $1.1 M in trust to the Dept. of Indian Affairs (Federal) for right of way and title for the land to build a road from the Bridge to the highway. As the opening date approached, Chief Mary Leonard announced a blockade would occur as, after a year-long wait, the $1.1M hadn’t been transferred to the Kamloops Indian Band! Action from an Order-in-Council quickly gave title to the Highways Ministry and transferred the money in time for the bridge opening on Sept 17, 1984. The opening received little publicity as the swearing in of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney occurred the same day!

Photo: Colleen Stainton
Written by M Colleen Stainton, Jan. 2020 for NSBIA with Kamloops Museum & Archives Permission to use photos in this publication

Photo Credits – Part One:

Image 1: Colleen Stainton

Image 2: KMA Photo Collection: #5021

Image 3: KMA Photo Collection: #1699

Image 4: Colleen Stainton

Image 5: KMA Photo Collection: #9408

Image 6: KMA Photo Collection: #3583

Image 7: KMA 3585, G.B. Brown Collection

Image 8: KMA Photo Collection: #6646

Image 9: KMA Photo Collection: :3586


Photo Credits – Part 2

Image 1& 2: Colleen Stainton

Image 3: Kamloops News Advertiser, Nov 15, 1972 – Pg 01

Photo Credits – Part 3

Image 1: KMA Photo Collection: #475 – Repaired by Camera House

Image 2&3: Colleen Stainton