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.
Original / Full Size Photos
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CarCam: Eastbound Crossing
Full Motion Video
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