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'Phenomenal' turnout at chaotic Golden Ears opening - Metro US

‘Phenomenal’ turnout at chaotic Golden Ears opening

The yet-to-open $800-million Golden Ears Bridge suffered its first traffic jam on Sunday.

More than 50,000 sightseers clogged the bridge during a fun, but chaotic celebration that saw a woman go into labour minutes before the official ribbon cutting.

TransLink had expected 20,000 to 30,000 people for the family-oriented pedestrian-only party. Actual attendance was at least double that.

Premier Gordon Campbell, who took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, called the turnout “phenomenal.”

At one point, RCMP closed the bridge to newcomers as pedestrians literally came to a standstill as they tried to squeeze past the main stage.

Mounties, many of whom were wearing red serge for the occasion, also shut down a main-stage Capoeria performance by Ache Brasil in an attempt to get foot traffic moving.

Then, moments before the official speeches and ribbon cutting, a pregnant woman was escorted past the security barrier. Minutes later a pair of fire-rescue vehicles with sirens blaring parted the sea of people.

TransLink spokesman Ken Hardie confirmed later that the woman had gone into labour and was taken to hospital.

At the north end of the bridge, an auxiliary Mountie told reporters that a man was also taken to hospital with heart attack-like symptoms.

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