History of The Macdonald Bridge

On April 2, 1955, the Angus L. Macdonald Bridge opened and the communities of Halifax and Dartmouth were united for the first time with an efficient transportation link that provided 24/7 access across the Halifax harbour. The bridge took roughly three years to build, with construction starting in 1952.

The Macdonald Bridge was converted from a two-lane to a three-lane structure with a pedestrian walkway and bicycle lane in 1999. In 2005, the Halifax Harbour Bridges (HHB) celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the Macdonald Bridge. There are approximately 48,000 crossings on the Macdonald Bridge on an average workday. The Macdonald Bridge has a reversible centre lane. In the morning, there are two lanes to Halifax. At noon, it switches and there are two lanes to Dartmouth and one to Halifax.

The Macdonald Bridge was named after former Nova Scotia Premier Mr. Angus Lewis Macdonald. He served as the Liberal premier of Nova Scotia from 1933 to 1940 when he became the federal minister of defense for naval services. He oversaw the creation of an effective Canadian navy and Allied convoy service during World War II. After the war, he returned to Nova Scotia to become premier again and he died in office in 1954.

Angus L. Macdonald Bridge Statistics
Total Length:1.3 km (0.84 mi.)
Suspension Bridge Suspended Spans:762.1 m (2,500.4 ft.)
Length of Halifax Approach:148.3 m (486.5 ft.)
Length of Dartmouth Approach:436.9 m (1,433.5 ft.)
Width of Deck:11.5 m (34.8 ft.)
Width of Bicycle Lane/Sidewalk:2.6 m (8.5 ft.)
Height of Towers:102.9 m (337.69 ft.)
Elevation of Road Deck (above water at centre span):54 m (177.25 ft.)
Clearance Under Bridge (at centre span, high water level):46.9 m (153.87 ft.)
Number of Traffic Lanes:3
Restrictions: No trucks weighing over 3,200 kg (7,055 lbs)
Buses permitted
Vehicle clearance of 4 meters
Disclaimer: This description should not be used for navigational transportation purposes. Further detail can be provided by HHB.

Documentaries showcasing the feats of engineering that were involved in both the Big Lift and the Third Lane Project are available on the Halifax Harbour Bridges YouTube channel. Click the titles below to view each one.

The Big Lift documentary.

The New Old Bridge documentary.