Most Expensive Walk Bridge in An Unassuming Place

When the dazzling $18 million Sundial Bridge was unveiled in 2004, it was received with excitement and fanfare in Redding, California. But many Californians who have never been to the Northern California city (a little more than 100 miles from the Oregon border) still don't know about the bridge. Architecture and bridge enthusiasts travel from around the globe to see the Sundial Bridge, and it doesn't disappoint.

The most expensive walkbridge built in recent years in the U.S. provides an experience like strolling on a piece of fine art sculpture. Its aquamarine colored walking surface, an opaque glass deck, is accented with strips of granite. From the shore you can see the decking cast greenish-blue shadows onto the Sacramento River which it crosses.

The focal point of the bridge is a pylon that acts as a sundial, telling time on a tile covered garden border on the north side of the bridge. At that side of the bridge you can wander underneath the structure to view white imported Spanish tile artwork, and get an up-close glimpse of how the support system works. 4,342 feet of steel cable are suspended from one single, glistening white, 217-foot-high pylon that resembles an egret in flight.

The bridge designer, world-renowned Swiss architect Santiago Calatrava, said his masterpiece resembles a bird in flight, and symbolizes the theme "overcoming adversity". Environmentally sensitive to its river setting, the tall pylon and cable stays allow this unique suspension bridge to avoid the nearby salmon-spawning habitat. Several fly fishing publications and professional guides have rated this area of the Sacramento River in the top 10 water fisheries in the world!

Getting there is a straight shot on 1-5 from just about any place in California. There is no charge to walk on the bridge, though surrounding McConnell Arboretum and Turtle Bay Museum do charge admission fees. Both are worth visiting, and there's a great little Cafe at Turtle Bay that has an outdoor patio overlooking the bridge. Some will never see the bridge, but it is one of California's most spectacular attractions.

An exciting adventure allows you to rent a bicycle (or bring your own) and ride from Shasta Dam on a bike trail that descends and connects to the Sundial Bridge.

For a free copy of the 64-page visitor's guide that includes information on Sundial Bridge, call 1-800-4SHASTA (474-2782) or see the guide online:

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