California bridges range from esthetic and historic feats of engineering to functional vehicular thoroughfares for millions of cars and trucks. The majority of earliest existing California bridges were built beginning in the early 1900's. One hundred years later, engineers continue to utilize proven structural designs while pushing the envelope in efforts to create safer bridges that can withstand years of wear and predicted earthquakes.
There are over 24,000 bridges in the state of California. Following are top California bridges to drive over:
1. Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco)
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the opening into the San Francisco Bay from the Pacific Ocean. It connects the city of San Francisco on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula to Marin County as part of US Highway 101 and California State Highway 1. The Golden Gate Bridge was the largest suspension bridge in the world when it was completed in 1937 and has become an internationally recognized symbol of San Francisco and the United States. It is currently the second longest one in the United States after the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge in New York City.
2. Bixby Bridge (Big Sur)
The Bixby Bridge has come to symbolize the pristine, majestic beauty of California's Big Sur Coast, home to redwood groves, freshwater springs, creeks, and rare and extensive grasslands that support several threatened animal species. Located just over 13 miles South of Carmel, the Bixby Bridge was one of the largest single-arch concrete bridges in the world when it was completed in 1932. It is 714 feet long and has a main span of 320 feet. The bridge, registered as a Historic Landmark, recently underwent a retrofit for more stringent earthquake standards which have come into effect in the 70 years since it was constructed. This has two lanes which carries US Route 1 through the scenic park.
3. Coronado Bridge (San Diego)
The San Diego-Coronado Bridge, locally referred to as the Coronado Bridge, is a pre-stressed concrete / steel girder bridge, linking San Diego with Coronado as part of California State Highway 75. This is 11,288-feet-long. The span reaches a maximum height of 200 feet, allowing even the tallest US Navy ships to pass underneath it. The five-lane bridge features the longest box girder in the world. This was designed entirely and exclusively for motor-vehicle traffic: there are no pedestrian walkways, bike paths, or breakdown lanes. A toll of $ 1.00 is charged to cross the bridge, however, carpools of two or more people cross free.