This bridge is a very rare example of a double-deck swing bridge. The bridge is also the oldest of the remaining swing bridges on California highways. The lower deck carries railroad traffic and the upper deck carries vehicular traffic. The "I Street Bridge" proper contains three fixed deck truss spans and a through truss swing bridge. This bridge's length and dimensions are included in the Technical Facts table above. However, for vehicular traffic, the overall bridge also includes from the west a curved approach system dating to 1959 and to the east, there are two approach ramps, an interesting ramp bridge on Jibboom Street dating to 1937, which intersects the approach at a 90 degree angle, and also a straight-on approach leading east away from the bridge.
Aside from the newer nature of the approach spans, the truss spans themselves retain good historic integrity with no major alterations. In terms of design style and appearance, this combined highway and railroad bridge has the appearance of a railroad bridge. The bridge was actually designed by John D. Isaacs for the Southern Pacific Railroad. The American Bridge Company of New York, New York constructed the superstructure, with the Missouri Valley Bridge and Iron Company of Leavenworth, Kansas constructing the substructure.
In 2013, an announcement was made that federal funding assistance was approved for the replacement of this historic bridge which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places with a new vehicular bridge. This will require a Section 106 Review to consider alternatives to demolition of the historic bridge. HistoricBridges.org looks forward to a broad, detailed consideration of numerous alternatives that are available to avoid or minimize adverse effect to the historic bridge. Demolition of this highly rare bridge (which remains in good structural condition despite the poor condition of the paint system) is something that appears to be avoidable, even if it means leaving the historic bridge standing for pedestrian use next to a replacement bridge.
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