Vincent Thomas Bridge
|Vincent Thomas Bridge|
The Vincent Thomas Bridge in 2009
|Carries||4 lanes of SR 47|
|Crosses||Los Angeles Harbor|
|Locale||San Pedro, California and Terminal Island|
|Owner||California Department of Transportation|
|Total length||6,060 feet (1,847 m)|
|Width||52 feet (16 m) (typical)|
|Height||365 feet (111 m)|
|Longest span||1,500 feet (457 m)|
|Clearance below||approximately 185 feet (56 m)|
|Opened||November 15, 1963|
The Vincent Thomas Bridge is a 1,500-foot (460 m) long suspension bridge, crossing the Los Angeles Harbor in the U.S. state of California, linking San Pedro, Los Angeles, with Terminal Island. The bridge is part of State Route 47. The bridge opened in 1963 and is named for California Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro, who championed its construction. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in California and the 76th longest span in the world. The clear height of the navigation channel is approximately 185 feet (56 m).
The terminal for ferries and helicopters to Santa Catalina Island is located underneath the western part of the bridge.
The bridge was built to replace the ferries that connected San Pedro and Terminal Island, in anticipation of increased traffic volume accompanying growth of the port. State legislator Vincent Thomas, representing San Pedro, was the bridge's champion. A special act of the legislature was required in order to name the bridge after Thomas while he was still in office.
Throughout the bridge's construction and in the early years after its opening, it was derided[by whom?] as a "bridge to nowhere". In the 1970s, however, its importance drastically increased as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach displaced those of the San Francisco Bay Area as the principal port on the U.S. West Coast. Today, the Vincent Thomas Bridge carries a considerable volume of truck traffic from the southernmost slips of the Port of Los Angeles, in San Pedro, onto the Terminal Island Freeway and eventually to the southern end of the Long Beach Freeway; from there, freight goes from the port complex to the rail yards of East Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.
In January 2005, after 17 years of planning and fundraising, the bridge was illuminated with blue LEDs, powered by solar panels. There are 160 lights on the bridge and it is the first combined use of solar power and LEDs in a bridge lighting installation.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (August 2012)|
When the bridge opened in 1963, the toll was 25 cents in each direction, with the toll plaza on the Terminal Island side. In 1983, the toll increased to 50 cents for westbound traffic but became free for eastbound traffic. By 2000, the Vincent Thomas Bridge was one of only two toll bridges remaining in Southern California (the other being the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in San Diego), during which year tolls on the Vincent Thomas Bridge were eliminated. After the San Diego-Coronado Bridge stopped collecting tolls in 2002, the California Department of Transportation was able to devolve authority over toll bridges to the Bay Area Toll Authority in June 2005.
Aside from the toll plaza now housing California Highway Patrol facilities, an inadvertent remnant of the toll era still exists: entering the bridge from San Pedro on N. Harbor Boulevard and heading eastbound, a sign prominently states below the name Vincent Thomas Bridge the words "Free Direction" (indicating the absence of a toll). A similar sign marking the more heavily used eastbound entrance from Gaffey Street still bears the weathered outline of the words "Free Direction," though the letters were removed likely sometime near the toll elimination in 2000.
The bridge is featured prominently in several scenes in the 1985 film To Live and Die in L.A..
The bridge is featured in the final shot of the film Lethal Weapon 2. When Riggs is shot on a ship, and Murtaugh is by his side, the camera pans up for a full screen shot of the Vincent Thomas Bridge for about a minute.
In August of 2012, for the season three premiere of the History Channel’s show Top Gear, the bridge was used as a finishing line for a closed course race. The race was between professional driver Tanner Foust, who drove a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 police car, and professional stunt driver Ernie Vigil, who drove a Triumph 1050 Speed Triple motorcycle.
- Vincent Thomas Bridge at Structurae
- CalTrans Vincent Thomas Bridge Upgrade Project contract, 1998 
- Concurrent Resolution 131[year missing]
- Wallechinsky, David (2004). The Complete Book of the Summer Olympics, Toronto: Sport Classic Books. ISBN 1-894963-34-2
- Police Cars. (2012). The History Channel website. Retrieved 12:06, August 22, 2012, from http://www.history.com/shows/top-gear/episodes/season-three.
- Marroquin, Art (19 August 2012). "BREAKING: Film director Tony Scott jumps to his death from Vincent Thomas Bridge". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Tony Scott, Director of 'Top Gun,' Dies in Apparent Suicide