Sacramento River Bridges

I’ve DuckDuckGone crosseyed looking for a complete list of crossings of the Sacramento River, and the only attempt at it i could find was this wikipedia List of Crossings of the Sacramento River, which i foolishly at first assumed was authoritative like the stunning List of Crossings of the Willamette River that i’d relied on to do my essay on Portland’s bridges.

Unfortunately, the Sacramento River list does not include railroad bridges, which is a shame because they’re often quite interesting structurally even though they range from difficult to impossible to photograph.  After i’d done my photography in Redding and discovered the Redding Trestle, i hacked my way into the source code for the list and added a row for the trestle.  Then later i discovered that the list also omitted the handsome Ribbon Bridge, a pedestrian/bicycle bridge about three miles upstream, so i went ahead and added a row for that one.

Still later, it came to my attention that the Sacramento River does not begin at Lake Shasta but rather feeds it, so i edited the introduction to that wiki list to clarify that there were a lot more bridges farther north.  Then i made two more trips up there to get the bridges over the upper reaches of the river.  I didn’t continue adding rows to that list because i did not have enough information about the bridges to do so.  Hell, as i discuss below, there does not seem to be any information on the Internet about some of the bridges i photographed, so at least i’ve now put a mention of their existence and a photograph of them out there.

As best i can tell, i seem to be the only person who’s sufficiently OCD to want to do photoessays of all the bridges over a particular river.  That said, i am far from the only person who likes to photograph bridges, and there are a number of ’em out there who combine extensive engineering knowledge with fine photographic skills and the ability to hike/climb to good vantage points.  And they post their work on websites that make me utterly chartreuse with envy.  My favorite of them is Mark Yashinsky, who has since 2009 posted a couple of thousand bridge photos with detailed descriptions on his superb site, Bridge of the Week.

 

The Sacramento River empties into Suisun Bay at Antioch, and the first bridge over it is in Rio Vista on CA-12, the 1960 Helen Madere Memorial Bridge, a vertical-lift drawbridge, and it’s a beauty.  Here it is from the bank of the river at the west end.

Helen Madere Memorial Bridge

 

And a closeup of the tower.

Helen Madere Memorial Bridge

 

And now, after crossing the bridge, a shot from the east bank of the river.

Helen Madere Memorial Bridge

 

Closer

Helen Madere Memorial Bridge

 

 

Now we head north on CA-160 to Isleton, where we cross the 1923 Isleton Bridge, an unmodified example of the Strauss heel trunnion double bascule bridge with the bascules freshly painted bright yellow.

Isleton Bridge

 

The bascules alone.

Isleton Bridge

 

A closeup of the mechanism.

Isleton Bridge

 

Finally, across the bridge for a full shot from the other side.

Isleton Bridge

 

 

On north on CA-160 to Walnut Grove for the 1951 Walnut Grove Bridge, also one of Strauss’ heel trunnion double bascule bridges.  Strauss got a serious share of the drawbridge market for many years with this design.  They were ugly but cheaper than the alternatives and superbly functional.  He dotted the country with dozens of them, and many of them are still hard at work with little repair after nearly a century.

Walnut Grove Bridge

 

A closeup.

Walnut Grove Bridge

 

And here’s the humongous counterweight.

Walnut Grove Bridge

 

 

The next bridge north on CA-160 over the Sacramento is at Paintersville, but a couple of miles before i got to it, i spotted this beauty off to the left.

Steamboat Slough Bridge

 

Turns out it’s the Steamboat Slough Bridge over, yes, Steamboat Slough just as it pours into the Sacramento River.  It’s from 1924 and is yet another of Strauss’ heel trunnion double bascule bridges still in great working order after being refurbished in 1950.  Here’s a shot from the end.

Steamboat Slough Bridge

 

And a counterweight shot.  Owing to all the trees along the levee, i couldn’t get a landscape mode shot.

Steamboat Slough Bridge

 

Now up CA-160 another mile to the Paintersville Bridge from 1923, obviously another one from Strauss.  It was rehabilitated in 1952 and tuned up in 2000.

Paintersville Bridge

 

An end shot.  And yes, those Strauss bridges just keep on flapping their bascules.

Paintersville Bridge

 

And finally, zooming in on the counterweight.

Paintersville Bridge

 

 

A few more miles north on CA-160 we find the 1929 Freeport Bridge. yet another Strauss workhorse and, like the others here at the bottom end of the river, the bascule portion is virtually unmodified although it didn’t get the yellow paint job.

Freeport Bridge

 

This one was a bit harder to photograph, but here’s a closeup.

Freeport Bridge

 

 

The next bridge north is the Pioneer Memorial Bridge on I-80 in Sacramento, but there is very little information available  online other than this aerial shot, obviously taken a number of years ago.  When i crossed the bridge i found a vantage on the east bank.

Pioneer Memorial Bridge, Sacramento

 

 

And then, wriggling my way back under US-50 to Front Street, i got a shot of 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 level and a vehicular roadway with two pedestrian walkways on the upper.

I Street Bridge

Want to see it in operation?  Click here.

 

The next bridge is a few miles north on I-80, the handsome 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 have some lean grace, 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 because it doesn’t 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 that he had on a number of occasions been bewildered, displaying a little-known penchant for punning.

So yes, i finally 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 SR-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 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 used to be a handsome Pratt through truss swing drawbridge from 1901, but it was replaced in 1980 by this utilitarian fixed thing.

Colusa Bridge

 

 

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

Butte City Bridge

 

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

Butte City Bridge

 

 

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

Ord Ferry Road Bridge

 

 

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

 

 

Continuing north to Corning, we find the Woodson Bridge from 1977.

Woodson Bridge

 

 

And from the side.

Woodson Bridge

 

 

And then on up to Tehama for the Tehama Bridge, which replaced a vertical-lift drawbridge in 1977 and since they were both built the same year, looks almost identical to the Woodson Bridge.  If you look closely, though, you can see that there’s a railroad bridge about a hundred feet to the north of it.

Tehama Bridge

 

 

From the end.

Tehama Bridge

 

 

Now here’s the railroad bridge.

Tehama railroad Bridge

 

 

And from the end.

Tehama Railroad Bridge

 

 

Back onto the Interstate to just south of Red Bluff for a 1964 bridge on I-5.  The bonus here is that you can barely see an old railroad bridge that runs immediately north of the highway bridge.

I-5 Bridge south of Red Bluff

 

Alas, i could not find a vantage from which to photograph the railroad bridge.

 

Now into Red Bluff for the 1938 Antelope Boulevard Bridge.  Here’s an end shot.

Antelope Boulevard Bridge

 

 

And a fuller view from the other side.

Antelope Boulevard Bridge

 

 

Now back onto I-5 to just north of Red Bluff for this 1964 bridge on I-5, which is strikingly similar to the one built just south of the city during the same year.

I-5 Bridge north of Red Bluff

 

Other side.

I-5 bridge north of Red Bluff

 

 

Onto country roads north to the 1989 Bend Ferry Road Bridge.

Bend Ferry Road Bridge

 

A word on nomenclature about these “…Ferry Road” bridges.   There were originally ferries across the rivers, and they were gradually replaced by bridges that often got named after the ferry roads.

 

Time for a break from the less interesting modern bridges.  More country roads north to the Jelly’s Ferry Road Bridge, a 5 span Parker through truss bridge from 1949.

Jelly's Ferry Road Bridge

 

From underneath.

Jelly's Ferry Road Bridge

 

And a shot of the end.  You bet, No Pedestrians.  The little thing is only one lane wide with a stop sign at both ends.

Jelly's Ferry Road Bridge

 

 

Yet more country roads north to the 1970 Ash Creek Road Bridge, about which i can find no information other than its mention in the List of Crossings of the Sacramento River.

Ash Creek Road Bridge

 

Other side.

Ash Creek Road Bridge

 

 

Over to eastern Anderson for the 1970 Deschutes Road Bridge.

Deschutes Road Bridge

 

 

Then into Anderson for the 2010 North Street Bridge.

North Street Bridge in Anderson

 

 

And a better vantage from the other side.

 

 

Now up to the north edge of Anderson, where I-5 crosses the river on a bridge completed in 2000.  Alas, the riverbanks here are lined either by trees or by large houses with tall fences, so i could find no point from which to photograph the bridge.  See what i mean?

 

On north to the southern edge of Redding, where we find the South Bonnyview Road Bridge from 1978 with a twin span added in 1997.

 

 

In southern Redding, the Cypress Avenue Bridge from 2011.

Cypress Avenue Bridge

 

 

The next bridge upstream is on SR 44 and does not, as best i can determine, have a name.  The only data i could find were Mark Yashinsky’s comments, which date it from 2007.

 

 

Now, finally, an interesting bridge, Santiago Calatrava’s 2004 Sundial Bridge. It is illegal to visit Redding without paying tribute to its most famous bridge, and since i didn’t want to be cast into outer darkness, here’s a shot from the south bank.

Sundial Bridge

 

Another, from the east.  I photographed this bridge to pieces in “Sundial Bridge“, and a couple of my photos of it appeared in Turning Torso, José Miguel Hernández Hernández’ book on Santiago Calatrava’s work.

Sundial Bridge

 

From the deck.

 

And an art shot.

Sundial Bridge

 

 

The next bridge upstream is the 1935 Redding Police Officer Owen “Ted” Lyon Memorial Bridge, called the Market Street Bridge by the old folks.  Here it is from the east.

Redding Police Officer Owen "Ted" Lyon Memorial Bridge

 

 

And from the west.  The gnomon of the Sundial Bridge is sticking up behind the north end of the bridge.  The gravel bar is in there because we’re at the beginning of the rainy season and the river is still quite low.

 Redding Police Officer Owen “Ted” Lyon Memorial Bridge.

 

 

An underneath shot.

 Redding Police Officer Owen “Ted” Lyon Memorial Bridge.

 

 

Immediately upstream is the spectacular 1939 Redding Trestle, a hundred-foot-high, four-fifths-mile-long railroad bridge that is an absolute joy to behold from just about any angle.  Here’s a closeup of the river span.

Redding Trestle

 

 

A shot of the north end.

Redding Trestle

 

 

And an art shot.

Redding Trestle

 

 

A hundred yards upstream is the 1996 Lake Redding Bridge, popularly called the New Diestelhorst Bridge.  Here it is from the east in front of the (old) Diestelhorst Bridge.

Lake Redding and Diestelhorst Bridges

 

 

And from the south side of the river.

Lake Redding Bridge

 

 

Ten yards upstream is the 1915 Diestelhorst Bridge, now dedicated to pedestrians and bicyclists and popularly known as the Diesel Horse Bridge.  Here, as seen from the southern foot of the Lake Redding Bridge.

Diestelhorst Bridge

 

And from the bank below the north end of the Lake Redding Bridge.

Diestelhorst Bridge

 

 

Now, pushing three miles up the river on the north side Sacramento River Trail, we come to the last bridge over the River near Redding, the Sacramento River Trail Bridge, built in 1990 and popularly called the  Ribbon Bridge.

Ribbon Bridge

 

Over the bridge for a shot looking into the mouth.  Note on transportation here:  I parked the Prius near the Sundial Bridge and rode the Segway in a loop on the riverside trails to get the photos of these last few bridges.

Ribbon Bridge

 

And then i went east along the river trail on the south side of the river to get this parting shot.

Ribbon Bridge

 

 

For the next bridge, i got back in the Prius and drove north on I-5 to SR-151 to Shasta Dam.   Owing to 9/11 paranoia, civilians are no longer allowed to drive over the dam, so i rolled out onto it on the Segway and got this shot of the little bridge far below at its foot.

bridge below Shasta Dam

 

On the way back up the road away from the dam, i found a pullout from which i could zoom in on an end shot of the little bridge.

bridge below Shasta Dam

 

 

Then back north on I-5 for its crossing of the Pit Arm of Lake Shasta, where i stopped for a photo of the Pit River Bridge because, even though it’s not over the Sacramento River, it’s spectacular and famous.  If you were ever going to click on one of my links, do it on that one, as it’s great.

Pit River Bridge

 

 

And while i was there, i took a shot of Mt. Shasta over the water of the Pit Arm.

Mt. Shasta over Lake Shasta

 

 

Now back to Sacramento River bridges, so it’s north on I-5 to the 1941 Antlers Bridge.  That link provides information about the old Antlers Bridge, which is now being torn down since the new bridge was finally opened last month.  Here’s a shot of the old bridge through the trusses of a railroad bridge of which i could get no shot.  You can see pilings for the new bridge behind the old bridge as well as the tops of trucks running on the new bridge.

Antlers Bridge

 

Here’s a shot from the other side of the new bridge with a bit of the old bridge visible behind it.

Antlers Bridge

 

 

Next bridge north was the 1934 Fender Ferry Bridge. accessible only by a little dirt road that was horribly rutted in the wintertime when i took this shady shot.

Fender Ferry Bridge

 

I went back the next summer and got the bridge with a little sun on it, wildfires having put a pall of smoke over this entire area.

Fenders Ferry Road Bridge

 

And the other side.

Fenders Ferry Road Bridge

 

 

Got back onto I-5 and exited at Pollard Flat, where i was able (barely) to photograph this railroad bridge from Eagles Roost Road.

Pollard Flat railroad bridge

 

 

Better yet, I was able to get a photo of the bridge on North Salt Creek Road.  I had not been able to get close to it last winter because the unidentified road that i took to be Salt Creek Road was gated shut.  While there’s still no sign saying “Salt Creek Road”, at least the gate was open this summer, and i took the Segway down the road.  The paving ended just after the first bend, but the road was well maintained, and after about a mile through the woods i came to the bridge.

Salt Creek Road Bridge

 

A feature of the other side of that gate was a stout padlock, so all i could do was get a side shot of the bridge.

Salt Creek Road Bridge

 

Emboldened by my success in finding this bridge, i ventured off onto a side road in hopes of finding a second bridge nearby, and yep, after only a quarter mile on the side road i spotted this.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.

 

Got closer and found it also gated and padlocked.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.

 

But at least i could get a shot from the side. I could find absolutely nothing on the Internet about either of these bridges.

Bridge over the Sacramento near the Salt Creek Road bridge.

 

Then i followed Eagles Roost Road north and was able to get shots of two bridges on I-5 over the river.  The first.

I-5 bridge near Gibson

 

 

And the second.  Yes, it sure does look a lot like the first, but but both were built in 1989 and i promise you it’s a different bridge.

I-5 bridge near Gibson

 

 

There were two more railroad bridges above this I-5 bridge that i couldn’t get, but i went on north to Sims Road to get a shot of the bridge on it over the river.  Alas, the road leading to the bridge was too thickly forested to get a shot, and there was no place to stop to even get a shot into the mouth.  So i drove on across the bridge in hopes of finding a good vantage there.  Grrrrrr, none.  And then, then, mirabile dictu, i veered into the Sims Campground parking area to turn around and blundered onto the Sims Bridge, a marvelous little suspension bridge for pedestrians, built in 1933 by the CCC and not shown on any of my maps.  How sweet that was.

Sims Bridge

 

I couldn’t resist a shot into the mouth since i couldn’t get it from the side, being afraid to take the Segway out onto the icy trail down to the riverbank.

Sims Bridge

 

 

Then i realized, oh hey, if i very carefully walked out onto the footbridge, i bet i could see the new bridge for vehicles (about which i could find no information) fifty yards to the north.  The serendipity was getting Shasta in the background.

Sims Bridge (motor vehicles)

 

 

Back up onto I-5 to Sweetbriar, exit 723, where i got this shot of the Falls Avenue Bridge.

Falls Avenue Bridge in Sweetbriar

Here’s the other side.

Falls Avenue Bridge in Sweetbriar

 

Then up to exit 726 for the Soda Creek Road Bridge.

Soda Creek Road Bridge

 

And then up to Dunsmuir, where the first seven bridges over the Sacramento are found.  The source of the Sacramento is the point a couple of miles west of Lake Siskiyou where the north and south forks of the Sacramento join, but there are no bridges over the Sacramento before it reaches Dunsmuir, the road over the top of the Lake Siskiyou dam not counting as a bridge.  The First Street Bridge, the southernmost bridge in Dunsmuir, was rather a disappointment, as i couldn’t even get a glimpse of it.

 

Stifling my disappointment, i drove north to the Bridge Street Bridge, where i was more successful.

Bridge Street Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

Not that a good view was available from either side.

Bridge Street Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

I had much better luck with the Bush Street Bridge.

Bush Street Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

And even better luck with the Sacramento Avenue Bridge.

Sacramento Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

Other side.

Sacramento Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

The next bridge north is the I-5 bridge.

I-5 Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

And about fifty yards upstream of that, the Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge.

Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge

 

Here it is in front of the I-5 Bridge.

Dunsmuir Avenue Bridge

 

And finally, the first bridge over the Sacramento River, the Cave Avenue bridge, another one hard to photograph.

Cave Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

Can’t see it any better from the other side.

Cave Avenue Bridge in Dunsmuir

 

And that’s it for the Sacramento River.  All i’m missing is most of the railroad bridges and that 1st Street Bridge in Dunsmuir.  And since i’m just an amateur doing this for fun, that’s good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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