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Isleton Bridge

Isleton Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: April 5, 2013

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
CA-160 Over Sacramento River
Rural: Sacramento County, California: United States
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Heel Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Concrete Rainbow Through Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1923 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York and Engineer/Design: Strauss Bascule Bridge Company (Strauss Engineering Company) of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Main Span Length
226 Feet (68.9 Meters)
Structure Length
624 Feet (190.2 Meters)
Roadway Width
17.7 Feet (5.39 Meters)
3 Main Span(s) and 6 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
24 0051

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

This is one of the more unique historic bridges to be encountered, because of its unusual combination of concrete and steel spans that from a visual perspective are both worthy of being considered "main spans." The bridge has a steel Strauss heel-trunnion bascule span, which is 226 feet long. East of this span are two concrete rainbow arch spans, each 102 feet in length. The rainbow arch spans and the bascule span would each be historically and technologically significant on their own as separate bridges, and so together they are highly significant. This combination of spans made of completely different materials and completely different designs creates a beautiful contrast. It should also be noted that there are a few small concrete slab approach spans on this bridge as well. The rainbow arch spans are of substantial span length for their type, large enough that they have overhead bracing.

Both the rainbow arch spans and the bascule span retain historic integrity by way of their lack of alteration of original materials and design. This is an outstanding bridge that should receive a high priority for preservation. The only noteworthy alteration is the replacement of the bridgetender house ca. 2007. In 1953 the original wooden deck was replaced with a metal grid deck on the bascule span and concrete deck on the approach spans. The bridge was rehabilitated in 2000.

This bridge was designed by the Strauss Bascule Bridge Company (Strauss Engineering Company), which was run by noted engineer Joseph Strauss. It may have been his involvement with California bridges like this that got his foot in the door, helping him gain the position as Chief Engineer for the design of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 The bridge was built by the American Bridge Company of New York, New York, with Jenkins and Elton of Sacramento, California working as the on-site contractor.

An interesting note is that there is also a bridge in Oregon that has a steel bascule main span with rainbow arch approach spans.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Isleton Bridge

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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
CarCam: Eastbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.


Maps and Links: Isleton Bridge

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