Tower Bridge (California)
The Tower Bridge just after sunset
|Architect||A. Teichert & Son, Inc.|
|Architectural style||Span Drive Type|
|Governing body||State of California|
|NRHP Reference #||82004845|
|Carries||Cars, pedestrians, and previously railroad|
|Locale||West Sacramento and Sacramento, California|
|Design||vertical lift bridge|
|Total length||737 ft (225 m)|
|Width||52 ft (16 m)|
|Clearance below||100 ft (30 m) above high water|
|Opened||December 15, 1935|
The Tower Bridge is a vertical lift bridge across the Sacramento River, linking West Sacramento in Yolo County to the west, with the capital of California, Sacramento, in Sacramento County to the east. It was previously a part of U.S. Route 40 until that highway was truncated east of Salt Lake City. The bridge is yet maintained by the California Department of Transportation as part of State Route 275, and connects West Capitol Avenue and Tower Bridge Gateway in West Sacramento with the Capitol Mall in Sacramento.
Developing the bridge
In 1911, construction was completed on the M Street Bridge in Sacramento. In 1933, the city realized that it needed a better crossing over the Sacramento River in case of war, and that the existing bridge was highly inadequate to handle heavy traffic.
It was to be 52 ft (16 m) wide, with four lanes for cars, and one large center lane for trains. The towers are 160 ft (49 m). The bridge style represents a rare use of Streamline Moderne architectural styling in a lift bridge, making it an outstanding expression of the social and architectural climate of the period of construction.
Repainting the bridge
For years, the bridge was painted silver, but people complained about glare off the bridge. In June 1976 it was painted a yellow-ochre color, to be representative of the gold leafed cupola on the nearby State Capitol.
In 2001, as the old paint job could hardly be distinguished, residents who lived within 35 mi (56 km) of the capital voted on a new color scheme. Their choices were burgundy, green, silver and gold; or all gold. The winning color was all gold, and it was repainted in 2002. However, that did not lessen the bridge's color controversy. Some people complained that the new paint was not as gilded as advertised. Others have suggested that copper would have been a far better color choice, especially in the context of nearby buildings. The new coat is expected to last 30 years.
Currently, the bridge is used for pedestrian and vehicle traffic only. In 2007, regional transportation agencies were considering the possibility of adding trolley traffic across the bridge.
- Capitol Mall
- History of Sacramento, California
- Old Sacramento State Historic Park
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Sacramento County, California
- California Historical Landmarks in Sacramento County, California
- "History of the Tower Bridge". Bridges over the Sacramento River. Retrieved 18 November 2010.
- Tower Bridge (California) at Structurae
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
- Historic Highway Bridges of California, California Department of Transportation, 1990
- Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. CA-73, "Sacramento River Bridge"
- Report of Bridge Survey from the U.S. Coast Guard
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