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Coronado Bridge Facts

The San Diego Coronado Bridge crosses over San Diego Bay in the United States. The bridge links San Diego with Coronado, California.

Coronado Bridge Facts for Kids

  • The bridge opened on August 3, 1969.
  • It’s a 2.12-mile long bridge
  • Robert Mosher was the architect
  • The construction cost was $50 million to build the bridge
  • They stopped collecting tolls on February 19, 2009

History

As far back as the 1920s, people advocated for a bridge over the bay. However, the US Navy opposed the idea, worried that the bridge would collapse.

In 1926, John D. Spreckels recommended a bridge be constructed between San Diego and Corona, but voters didn’t really like this idea and rejected the proposal.

In 1951 – 52, the Coronado City Council initiated plans for bridge feasibility studies, and in 1964 the Navy supported a bridge with at least 200 feet of clearance.

Construction on the San Diego – Coronado Bay Bridge started in February 1967 and required 20,000 tons of steel and 94,000 cubic yards of concrete.

In order to build this bridge, engineers had to first figure out how to build a bridge without using any steel. They figured they could use concrete instead. Engineers also figured out how to build a suspension bridge, which is what this particular bridge uses, because they didn’t want the wind to blow them off course. This is why you see all those cables hanging down from the top of the bridge.

Engineers also needed to make sure that the bridge would withstand earthquakes since there are a lot of earthquakes in California.

To do this, they used special materials called “reinforced” concrete. Reinforced concrete is made by mixing cement into sand and gravel. Then, when the cement hardens, it becomes stronger. Engineers also built an extra layer of reinforced concrete under the deck.

Facts for Kids
Facts for Kids

This way, if anything happens to the main part of the bridge, the extra layer of concrete won’t let the rest of the bridge fall apart.

Finally, engineers decided to use a certain type of metal for the support towers. This metal is called stainless steel. Stainless steel is very strong but not as heavy as other metals.

So, engineers figured out a way to put the towers together so they wouldn’t weigh too much.

The final step in building this bridge was putting all the pieces together. This took many years of planning and testing. But finally, after four years of construction, the bridge was finished.

Design

Robert Mosher was the architect. The bridge opened on August 3, 1969. It coincided with San Diego’s 200th-anniversary celebration

With a vertical clearance (height) of approximately 200 feet, this 2.12-mile-long suspension bridge can accommodate the largest vessels.

Framework

Mosher proposed a basic box and girder-style bridge but used an orthotropic roadway, which made the structure stronger and eliminated the need for extra superstructures over the deck to disperse weight.

Aesthetics

The bridge’s 30 towers are supported by a tall and tapered arch, miming the Spanish mission church arches dominating Southern California.

The bridge’s color, blue, connects it to the sea and sky, elements that the bay area people are proud of.

The San Diego Bay Bridge curves to achieve its height and maintain a 4.67% grade, making it longer than it has to be. However, people seem to like the curves, and the bridge has been applauded for its sleek, elegant design.

When was Coronado Bridge Built

Work started in February 1967 and opened on August 3, 1969. The architect was Robert Mosher. Mosher was born in Greeley, Colorado, and moved to Los Angeles as a young child.