Lake Hodges Bridge
The Lake Hodges Bridge is a component of Interstate 15 that spans Lake Hodges, just south of Escondido, California. Lake Hodges Bridge is an important part of San Diego's North-South transportation axis.
The original bridge was constructed in 1919. The bridge later became integrated into the newly constructed U.S. Route 395. As part of a roadway realignment and improvement project, the original structure was demolished in 1968, and replaced with a new structure in 1969. That bridge was subsequently replaced in 1981, when I-15 was built to supersede US 395.
Currently, the bridge is one of the major traffic headaches in North San Diego County. The nature of the lake and the surrounding land makes the bridge the only way into the city of San Diego on the inland route. The only two major ways around the bridge are the Del Dios Highway, a two-lane winding road to Interstate 5 via Del Mar, and the 25-mile (40 km) trip through Ramona into Escondido. Although paved access roads through the San Pasqual Valley to the east of Lake Hodges do exist, they are lightly traveled and are not designed to handle heavy traffic. The bridge is thus effectively the only crossing point for drivers on the route.
Depending on the amount of rainfall in San Diego County, Lake Hodges's water level fluctuates significantly. As such, Lake Hodges Bridge may cross over water or a dry lake bed from time to time. Due to the vast amount of vegetation that springs up when water levels are low, the area below the bridge has been jokingly referred to as "Hodges National Forest".
A separate pedestrian/bicycle bridge located immediately to the west of the I-15 span opened to the public on May 15, 2009. It is of a stress-ribbon design, the longest of its type in the world, and only the sixth to have been built in the US. This design was chosen for having the least impact on environmentally sensitive habitats in the construction area. This span is officially named the David Kreitzer Lake Hodges Bicycle Pedestrian Bridge, after a retired planning commissioner.
- David Garrick (May 15, 2009). "ESCONDIDO: Lake Hodges pedestrian, bike bridge opens $10M span connects trails in Escondido, RB". North County Times. Retrieved 2009-05-17.
- Linda Lou (November 28, 2008). "Bridge over lake takes shape". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- Gary Warth (March 28, 2009). "ESCONDIDO: Opening near for Lake Hodges bridge". North County Times. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
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