California Bridges

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California Bridges Facts, Points of Interest

A report released in 2011 by transit advocacy group Transportation for America provides a sobering assessment of the condition of California's bridges. The report finds that one in eight bridges are structurally deficient in some way. In the Bay Area, that number rises to one in five; in San Francisco, it's more than one in three.

California ranked 18th in the report's list of state rankings with 12.8% its bridges deemed structurally deficient. A structurally deficient bridge is not an unsafe bridge, but it is a warning sign, said the director of Transportation For America. Designed to last roughly 50 years, the average age of bridges in the U.S. is 42 years old. California's average is 44.4 years old. The number of structurally deficient California bridges is virtually guaranteed to increase over time, as a wave of old bridges reach the end of their designed lives. More than 8,300 California bridges are now 50 years old or older.


VINCENT THOMAS BRIDGE
Carries 4 lanes of California 47.svg SR 47
Crosses Los Angeles Harbor
Locale San Pedro, California and Terminal Island
Maintained by Caltrans
Design Suspension bridge
Total length 6,060 feet
Width 52 feet (16 m) (typical)
Height 365 feet (111 m)
Longest span 1,500 feet
Vertical clearance approximately 185 feet
Opened November 15, 1963

Completed in 1963, "San Pedro's Golden Gate" was the first bridge of its kind to be constructed on pilings. Construction required 92,000 tons of Portland cement, 13,000 tons of lightweight concrete, 14,100 tons of steel and 1,270 tons of suspension cable. It is designed to withstand winds of 90 miles per hour, double that required by code. The overall length of the bridge is 6,050 feet, with a main suspension span of 1,500 feet and 500-foot spans on either side. The towers are 365 feet high. Named for one of San Pedro's "own," an orphan from the streets and wharves who went on to become a State Assemblyman, it was The Hon. Vincent Thomas who cut the ribbon at the dedication ceremony.

On January 30, 2005, after 17 years of planning and fundraising, the Vincent Thomas Bridge Lighting ceremony was held. The entire Harbor community rejoiced when the switch finally was flipped and a star was born. The bridge is illuminated with blue LED lights which are powered by solar panels. The solar panels feed more electricity into the grid during the day than the LED lights use at night. There are 160 lights on the bridge and it is the first combined use of solar power and LEDs in a bridge lighting installation. The lights operate from dusk to midnight in order to minimize impact on wildlife. The dramatic green bridge is designated as the official landmark welcoming visitors to Los Angeles. The Vincent Thomas Bridge is a 1,500-foot long suspension bridge, opened in 1963, crossing the Los Angeles Harbor in the U.S. state of California, linking San Pedro, Los Angeles, with Terminal Island. The bridge is signed as part of State Route 47. It is named for California Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in California. It is also the bridge with the 76th longest span in the world. The clear height of the navigation channel is approximately 185 ft.
Daily traffic 32,000

When the bridge opened in 1963, the toll was 25 cents in each direction, with the toll plaza on the Terminal Island side. In 1983, the toll increased to 50 cents for westbound traffic but became free for eastbound traffic. By 2000, the Vincent Thomas Bridge was one of only two toll bridges remaining in Southern California (the other being the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in San Diego), during which year tolls on the Vincent Thomas Bridge were eliminated. After the San Diego-Coronado Bridge stopped collecting tolls in 2002, the California Department of Transportation was able to devolve authority over toll bridges to the Bay Area Toll Authority in June 2005.

In January 2005, after 17 years of planning and fundraising, the bridge was illuminated with blue LED lights, powered by solar panels. There are 160 lights on the bridge and it is the first combined use of solar power and LEDs in a bridge lighting installation. The lights operate from dusk to midnight to minimize impact on wildlife.

On October 26, 1990, 1964 Olympic diving bronze medalist Larry Andreasen was killed jumping from the west tower of the bridge in an attempt to set a diving record.

The Gerald Desmond Bridge is a through arch bridge that carries four lanes of Ocean Boulevard from Interstate 710
Carries 4 lanes of I-710 (CA).
Crosses Cerritos Channel
Locale Terminal Island and Long Beach, California
Design Through arch bridge
Total length 5,134 feet (1,565 m)
Longest span 410-foot (120 m)
Vertical clearance 155 feet (47 m)
Opened 1968


San Francisco San Francisco County 116 bridges, people daily on bridges 2,569,899

Golden Gate Bridge - most photographed bridge in the world (and most suicides)

Alvord Lake Bridge
Antioch Bridge
Benicia - Martinez Bridge
Berkeley I-80 bridge
Carquinez Bridge
Cypress Street Viaduct
Dumbarton Bridge
Fruitvale Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Leimert Bridge
Mary Avenue Bridge
Park Street Bridge
Richmond - San Rafael Bridge
San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge
San Mateo - Hayward Bridge


San Francisco - Oakland Bay Bridge
Carries 10 lanes (5 westbound on upper level, 5 eastbound on lower) of I-80
Crosses San Francisco Bay via Yerba Buena Island
Locale San Francisco and Oakland
Maintained by California Department of Transportation

Designer Charles H. Purcell
Design Double-decked Suspension, Cantilever Bridge, Truss causeway and Tunnel
Material Steel, concrete
Total length West span: 10,304 feet
East span: 10,176 feet
Total: 4.46 miles
excluding approaches
Width 5 traffic lanes totaling 57.5 feet
Height West: 526 feet
Longest span West: two main spans
2,310 feet
East: one main span
1,400 feet
Vertical clearance Westbound minimum 14 feet, with additional clearance in some lanes
Clearance below West: 220 feet
East: 191 feet (58 m)
Construction begin July 8, 1933
Opened November 12, 1936; 74 years ago
Toll Cars east span, westbound only

Daily traffic 270,000

During the October 17, 1989, Loma Prieta earthquake, which measured 6.9 on the moment magnitude scale, a 50-foot section of the upper deck of the eastern truss portion of the bridge at Pier E9 collapsed onto the deck below, indirectly causing one death. The bridge was closed for just over a month as construction crews repaired the section. It reopened on November 18 of that year.



Arroyo Grande Swinging Bridge

Fact: Only one of its kind in California
Length: 171 feet
Height: 40 feet above creek

Auburn Foresthill Bridge

3rd Tallest in US Connects Auburn and Foresthill, California
Auburn, Calif.--The highest bridge in California, which spans the North Fork of the American River between Auburn and Foresthill,

Sundial Bridge in Redding

One of the nation's most beautiful, expensive, and architecturally interesting bridges can be found in Redding, California. The Sundial Bridge is a walking bridge costing over $18 million to build.
Sundial Bridge is beautiful because of its aqua green, opaque glass deck; strips of granite; and smooth, white imported Spanish tile. The bridge is unique because of its design. The 217-foot pylon acts as a sundial, telling time on a tile covered garden border on the north side of the bridge. The designer of the bridge, world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, has said that, to him, the bridge resembles a bird in flight, and symbolizes the overcoming of adversity.


San Diego-Coronado Bridge

It is the third deadliest suicide bridge in the USA, trailing only the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and the Aurora Bridge in Seattle.[8] Between 1972 and 2000, more than 200 suicides occurred on the bridge.[9] Signs have been placed on the bridge urging potential suicides to call a hotline.

Carries 5 lanes of California 75.svg SR 75
Crosses San Diego Bay
Locale San Diego and Coronado, California
Design Prestressed concrete/steel bridge
Total length 11,179 feet (3,407 m) or 2.1 miles
Longest span 1,880 feet
Clearance below 200 feet
Construction cost $47.6 million USD
Opened August 3, 1969

Bixby Bridge

The bridge is located 120 miles south of San Francisco and 13 miles south of Carmel in Monterey County along California Highway One.

Bixby Creek Bridge is important historically because it introduced automobile travel to Big Sur, connecting the remote coastal towns to each other.
Carries California 1.svg California State Route 1
Crosses Bixby Creek
Locale Big Sur
Monterey County
Design reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge
Total length 714 feet
Width 24 feet
Height 280 feet
Longest span 320 feet
Clearance below 260 feet
Construction begin August 24, 1931
Construction end October 15, 1932
Opened November 27, 1932
Daily traffic 4,500


Oroville Bidwell Bar Bridge

The original bridge is registered as California Historical Landmark #314 and it has been declared a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Bidwell Bar Bridge

The new Bidwell Bar Bridge
Carries Pedestrian traffic (Original span); two lanes of California 162.svg SR 162 (Current span)
Crosses Lake Oroville
Locale Oroville, California
Design 2 Suspension bridges
Total length 240 ft. Original span; 1,108 ft. Current span
Opened 1855 Original span ; 1967 Current span
California Historical Landmark #: 314

The Bidwell Bar Bridge, in Oroville, California, refers to two suspension bridges which cross different parts of Lake Oroville. The original Bidwell Bar Bridge was the firs


Cabrillo Bridge San Diego
Cabrillo Bridge

The bridge in 1916, with pond and the Camino Cabrillo road underneath.
Carries El Prado
Crosses Cabrillo Canyon
Locale San Diego, California
Designer Frank P. Allen, Jr.
Thomas B. Hunter
Design Concrete, steel, wood
Total length approx. 450 feet
Height 120 feet
Construction end 1914
Construction cost $250,000
Opened 1914


The Cabrillo Bridge in San Diego, California is a historic pedestrian and automobile bridge providing access between Balboa Park and the Uptown area of San Diego. It was nominated for the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.

1915 and 1935 Expositions

The Cabrillo Bridge is one of several access routes to the cluster of museums located at the "Prado" (the former 1915 Panama Exposition site), which is east of the bridge in the middle of Balboa Park and continuing to a point near the Bea Evenson Fountain (and former trolley stop) just west of Park Boulevard.

The east-west street atop the two-lane bridge is called "El Prado." Many people mistakenly refer to the street as Laurel Street, which is a continuation of El Prado but ends at Sixth Avenue, and some refer to the bridge as the Laurel Street Bridge. Sixth Avenue forms the western boundary of Balboa Park. Laurel Street continues west from Sixth Avenue to form the southern border of San Diego's International Airport, Lindbergh Field, and ends at Harbor Drive on San Diego Bay.

The structure is easily seen from the scenic Cabrillo Freeway State Route 163 , which is located on the floor of the canyon below. Finally, after eight people jumped during the first six months of 1950 (and at least 50 total since its construction), city workers installed wrought iron fencing on both parapets of the bridge in June 1950. However, the suicides from the bridge did not really stop until the Coronado bridge was built.

The bridge in 1916, looking east toward Balboa Park, with pond and the "Camino Cabrillo" road underneath.
Carries El Prado
Crosses Cabrillo Canyon
Locale San Diego, California
Designer Frank P. Allen, Jr.
Thomas B. Hunter
Design Concrete, steel, wood
Total length approx. 450 feet (140 m)
Height 120 feet (37 m)
Construction end 1914
Construction cost $250,000 ($5,409,539 today)
Opened 1914

Hazard Memorial Bridge San Diego

The Adams Avenue Bridge or Roscoe E. Hazard Memorial Bridge in the Normal Heights area of San Diego, California, is an arch bridge that carries Adams Avenue over Interstate 805. Under Senate Concurrent Resolution 67, it was named after the rancher who was involved in construction of several roads and highways in Southern California,[1] especially in San Diego. The bridge was built in 1970, around the same time that the freeway below was constructed. It is located just south of the Jack Schrade Interchange, where Interstate 805 intersects Interstate 8.

On September 22, 2009, the California Highway Patrol closed I-805 at the bridge at 1:00 pm due to a woman hanging from a bridge. Rescuers managed to save the woman before she fell off the bridge. I-805 was reopened 30 minutes after closure. The woman, who attempted suicide, was later taken into custody.

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