British Columbia

2 men charged with mischief after climbing Lions Gate Bridge and disrupting traffic

Two American men have been charged with mischief after an attempt to climb the Lions Gate Bridge led to police action that clogged traffic in the area for hours.

Police say men's actions affected traffic in the region for hours Thursday morning

Lions Gate bridge spanning the Burrard Inlet with West Vancouver in the background. (Christer Waara / CBC)

Two American men have been charged with mischief after an attempt to climb the Lions Gate Bridge led to police action that clogged traffic in the area for hours.

Police responded to calls around 8:30 a.m. Thursday that two men were climbing the iconic suspension bridge that connects downtown Vancouver to the North Shore. Police say the men climbed between 15 and 20 metres above the bridge deck.

Zachary Woodrow Burke,  23, from California and Andrew Preston Valentine, 26, from Washington have been charged with criminal mischief in connection with the incident.

Vancouver police Chief Adam Palmer said the men's actions disrupted traffic as far away as Burnaby, as lane closures led commuters to take the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge instead.

"I understand that sometimes people want to do thrill-seeking events, and nobody's opposed to that, but not on public infrastructure," Palmer said. "You can go climb a mountain or something like that."

Palmer said that, beyond delaying traffic, the men's actions also put the responding officers in danger as well.

"You don't know what kind of circumstances you're initially dealing with, whether it's potentially someone [who's] looking at self harm or it's somebody [on a] misadventure just trying to take YouTube videos," Palmer said, noting that Vancouver police frequently respond to calls of potential bridge jumpers.

"It was a pretty selfish thing to do."