'It's ingenious really': Homeless campers build bridge out of shopping carts

Const. Pat Kelly was on a routine patrol of the area when he found the structure.

Abbotsford police officer stumbled on bridge during routine patrol

Nearly a dozen shopping carts were lined together underneath a bridge in Abbotsford, B.C., to create a bridge for homeless people who camp in the area. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

Homeless campers in Abbotsford, B.C., found an "ingenious, creative" way to get around a river: build a bridge out of shopping carts.

Const. Pat Kelly was on a routine patrol earlier this week when he walked down to check out the area underneath Highway 1, not far from Lonzo Road and Vedder Way. 

When he rounded the corner, he found the bridge.

"I was shocked by the ingenuity of it, first of all," Kelly said. "It's ingenious really."

Const. Pat Kelly was on a routine patrol when he found the bridge. (Mike Zimmer/CBC)

The span is built with nearly a dozen shopping carts and some wooden pallets, topped with slabs of carpet. It makes it easier for people to get from Vedder Way to the Riverside homeless shelter.

Kelly said he's walked back and forth over the bridge more than once and it didn't even wobble.

"It's sturdy, well-built, held all of our weight," he said. "It's mind-boggling."

Last year, a massive homeless camp underneath another Abbotsford bridge was dismantled. Kelly said "dozens and dozens" of people were displaced from the Gladys Avenue camp at the time.

Since then, officers have been routinely patrolling that area of the city, as many of those campers haven't gone far. The shopping cart bridge is just west of the old camp site.

The makeshift bridge was set up near the site of a dismantled homeless camp 0:47

"The camps tend to congregate in this general area," Kelly said. "It's secluded. It's out of the way ... if you are homeless and you're trying to have some kind of camp that won't attract attention, you're going to come down here."

Because the carts are stolen, the officer said the bridge will have to be dismantled, so the carts can be returned.

Kelly said the city likely won't built a replacement, because it doesn't want to encourage people to set up camp in the area.