The Rest of the River

I’ll be wearing my Bernie t-shirt until it’s hanging in tatters.


On my first Sacramento River bridge expedition, i started at the mouth and worked my way up the river to Sacramento.  On my second expedition, i started at the first bridge, in Redding and meandered south until darkness fell.

On this foray, i’m starting where i left off in Sacramento and going north to get the remaining bridges.

When i was last in Sacramento, i had failed to get a shot of the US-50 bridge from its west bank, so this time i crossed the bridge and looked for vantages on the east bank.  Ha!

This is yet another modern bridge for which very little information is available online other than that it was built in 1966 and is named the Pioneer Memorial Bridge.  I did find this aerial shot, obviously taken a number of years ago.  Here’s an east bank shot.

Pioneer Memorial Bridge, Sacramento



And then, if you wriggle your way back under US-50 to Front Street, you can see the whole thing from the north.

Pioneer Memorial Bridge, Sacramento



The glory of Front Street is that it flanks a lovely esplanade along the river leading to the Tower Bridge from 1934, a vertical-lift drawbridge that is locally beloved.  And for good reason.

Tower Bridge



A shot into the mouth.

Tower Bridge



And an art shot.

Tower Bridge


Oh, and here’s a video clip of the bridge opening.


At this point, we are in the “Old Sacramento” historical district, quaint old buildings along the riverfront now dedicated to shops helping tourists shed excess dollars but thankfully punctuated with sidewalk cafes and restaurants.

Just a few hundred yards to the north is the 1911 I Street Bridge, a double-deck swing drawbridge with railroad tracks on the lower lever and a vehicular roadway with two pedestrian walkways on the upper.

I Street Bridge


Want to see it in operation?  Click here.



The esplanade is a pleasure, dotted with delights.



The next bridge is a few miles north on I-80, the rather nice Caltrans Maintenance Worker Memorial Bridge from 1971, also known as the Bryte Bend Bridge.

Caltrans Maintenance Worker Memorial Bridge



A bit farther to the north is the 1969 Vietnam Servicemen Memorial Bridge on I-5, also known as the Elkhorn Bridge.  Some of these modern bridges are actually quite handsome, but my goodness, to get a vantage for this one required a lot of tedious grinding around at the airport before i finally found the little access road that leads down to the river.

Elkhorn Bridge


Here’s a shot from underneath.  No, it is not a swing bridge, that’s an expansion joint.

Vietnam Servicemen Memorial Bridge



Now let’s head north on SR-113 to Knight’s Landing for the eponymous bridge, a 1933 double-leaf bascule bridge.

Knight's Landing Bridge



My intention at this point was to head north on SR-113 and west on SR-20 to the Meridian Bridge.  Alas, there was a bit of a detour.  Remember the old adage that the most dangerous animal in the jungle is a second lieutenant with a map?

Well, i’m so old that i hate to go tediously pecking around with my Garmin device, which does not allow me to just ask for directions to the next bridge, so i relied on maps and my sense of direction and ended up in Daniel Boone’s situation.  He was once asked if he’d ever been lost and replied no, but he had on a number of occasions been bewildered.

Yes, so i found myself driving around in a small city and so bewildered that i had to stop at a store and ask the counterman what town i was in.  I was astonished when he told me Yuba City, as i’d had no plans to go there.  Fortunately, he was able to give me clear directions to SF-20, which i then followed west until i reached the Meridian Bridge, a gorgeous cable-stayed, swing drawbridge from 1977.  What a wonderful bridge!

Meridian Bridge



And here’s a video clip of it in operation.  I’ll add that there were formerly drawbridges much farther north, but all those above this point have been replaced with fixed bridges.  Since there is no longer much river traffic this far north, this bridge and the Knight’s Landing Bridge are accused of being opened only for an annual inspection.  However, there is still robust traffic from Sacramento south, so all those drawbridges are frequently opened.  This one’s so beautiful i have to do a closeup.

Meridian Bridge



Now north on SR-45 to Colusa.  I just love these little country roads in the delta. They’re smooth and (mostly) straight, and the locals are quite clear that those silly little speed limit signs are only for the tourists, so all you have to do is just fall in behind a farmer in his pickup to whiz along at 65 or 70, confident that he knows when to slow down.

In Colusa there was a handsome Pratt through truss swing drawbridge from 1901, but it was replaced in 1980 by this utilitarian fixed thing.



Continuing north on SR-45, we head east on SR-162 toward Butte City for this rather plain highway bridge from 1961.

Ord Ferry Road Bridge



But wait, the other end of it is much more interesting.

Ord Ferry Road Bridge



Then we continue north on SR-45 to the 1971 Ord Ferry Road Bridge.

Ord Ferry Road Bridge



Finally, north on SR-45 to Hamilton City, where SR-32 crosses the river on what was formerly the Gianella Bridge.  Click on that link for an interesting story.  Alas, that marvelous 1911 swing-span drawbridge was demolished and replaced in 1987 by this.

Hamilton City Bridge



Hamilton City is only a dozen miles south of Corning, but i was too tired to detour up there to hit Bartel’s Giant Burger and elected to just drive straight home on I-5, sated by my sense of accomplishment over having photographed all the bridges over the Sacramento River.

The project has been enormous fun, and i hope it will provide some entertainment for my readers.

Hmmm, maybe for my next Sacramento River project i could float down the river from Redding in a little boat with a tall mast, demanding that all the drawbridges be opened for me.  I should probably check before i set out to see whether the bastards have put in a dam above the Meridian Bridge.

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  1. Carol Sundell
    Posted 23 December 2016 at 07:42 | Permalink

    Well it is magnificent! Loved them all. You got amazing shots, angles, perspective….on and on and wishing I could wax as wonderfully as your eye when you capture your targets.

    • Posted 23 December 2016 at 07:54 | Permalink

      Oh, you’re too kind, Carol. We must get together for lunch soon so you can hold my hand while you describe my website. As you’ll see from my following post, i’ll be making another trip up there to capture the 24 bridges above Redding that were not included on what i relied on as a complete list of the bridges, and this time i’m going to be trying to get more detail shots and arty stuff.

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