Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vincent Thomas Bridge. San Pedro to Terminal Island, Los Angeles.

September 3rd, 2013

Dare I blog it, but it’s like…, I hope the ‘big one’ don’t hit when…!
            …then again, given a massive tsunami tidal-wave or the likes, up on the Vincent Thomas Bridge could be one of the safest places around for miles – one never knows, I suppose.  
Regardless, the Vincent Thomas Bridge is a pretty cool ride!  The bridge spans from the San Pedro seafaring district of Los Angeles to Terminal Island, the port district of the city.

The bridge is named for a local San Pedro politician/state assemblyman who championed its construction and who has since deceased.  It opened in 1963, with its namesake Thomas paying the first toll collected by the bridge.  When I first moved to the L.A. area, I sort of got in the habit of calling the bridge the ‘Saint Vincent Thomas,’ to help be remember its name.  :)     
The Vincent Thomas was originally a toll bridge.  However, once the bridge was paid for, the toll was no longer collected and the toll booths were subsequently removed.  (Hear that, east coast turnpikes?)
Once a year, more or less, the bridge is closed to vehicular traffic to allow for pedestrians to traverse en masse.  Pedestrians are not allowed any other time, as far as I know.

The bridge was fitted with $1,000,000 worth of ornamental lighting sometime over the last decade or so.  I most enjoy traversing the bridge when it’s early night-time after dark.  That's typically when the bridge’s ornamental lights are lit and the lights of the city and port area are all aglow.


Vincent Thomas Bridge

Facts below taken from:
CA-47 Vincent Thomas Bridge

 --  Third largest suspension span bridge in California, after the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, respectively.

 --  First welded (not riveted) suspension bridge in the United States.

 -- Only suspension bridge in the world supported entirely on piles.

 -- Named after Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro. In 1961, the California Legislature passed a special measure to name the structure after Thomas in honor of his persistence and faith in the bridge's future success.

 -- Designed by the Bridge Department of the California Division of Highways, now known as Caltrans, which owns and maintains the bridge.

 -- Encompasses 2.2 miles of Los Angeles County Route CA-47.
 -- Required 92,000 tons of Portland cement, 13,000 tons of lightweight concrete, 14,100 tons of steel and 1,270 tons of suspension cable to construct.

 -- When the Bridge opened in 1963, a 25-cent toll was collected in each direction. On grand opening day, Assemblyman Thomas paid the first toll. In 1983, the toll increased to 50 cents for westbound traffic and was free for eastbound traffic.  In 2000, the Bridge was considered “paid for” and the toll was repealed.

 -- Painting the bridge is a routine and continuous maintenance job, handled by Caltrans, which requires 1,500 gallons of zinc, 500 gallons of primer and 1,000 gallons of green paint to cover the span.

 -- In 1996, the Los Angeles City Council declared the Vincent Thomas Bridge as the City of Los Angeles’ official welcoming monument.