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Tower Bridge, Sacramento, California | by Thad Roan - Bridgepix
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Tower Bridge, Sacramento, California

Bridgepixing the Tower Bridge as it lifts up for the paddlewheel Riverboat on the Sacramento River, Sacramento, California. This Lift Bridge, completed in 1935 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is painted gold since Sacramento is the capital of the "Golden State". Additional Bridge Photos and a Bridge Blog at


The Tower Bridge is a vertical lift bridge crossing the Sacramento River, linking West Sacramento in Yolo County to the west, with the capital of California, Sacramento, in Sacramento County to the east. It was previously a part of U.S. Route 40 until that highway was truncated to east of Salt Lake City. The bridge is still maintained by the California Department of Transportation as part of State Route 275. It connects West Capitol Avenue and Tower Bridge Gateway in West Sacramento with the Capitol Mall in Sacramento.


In March 1926, construction was completed on the M Street Bridge in Sacramento. Seven years later, in 1933, the city realized that it needed a better crossing over the Sacramento River in case of war, and that the existing bridge was highly inadequate to handle heavy traffic. On December 22, 1933, the State of California, Sacramento County, and the Sacramento Northern Electric Railroad (later the Sacramento Northern Railway) held a conference to plan the new bridge. It was to be 52 feet (16 m) wide, with four lanes for cars, and one large center lane for trains. On December 15, 1935, then-governor Frank Merriam dedicated the bridge.


Currently, the bridge is used for pedestrian and vehicle traffic only. In 2007, regional transportation agencies were considering the possibility of adding trolley traffic across the bridge.


* The Tower Bridge was the first vertical lift bridge in the California Highway System.


* The towers are 160 feet (49 m) tall.


* For years, the bridge was painted silver, but people complained about glare off the bridge. In June 1976 it was painted a yellow- ochre color, to be representative of the gold leafed cupola on the nearby State Capitol.


* In 2001, as the old paint job could hardly be distinguished, residents who lived within 35 miles of the capital voted on a new color scheme. Their choices were burgundy, green, silver and gold; or all gold. The winning color was all gold, and it was repainted in 2002. However, that did not lessen the bridge's color controversy. Some people complained that the new paint wasn't as gilded as advertised. The new coat is expected to last 30 years.


* The bridge style represents a rare use of Streamline Moderne architectural styling in a lift bridge, making it an outstanding expression of the social and architectural climate of the period of construction.


* The Tower Bridge is similar to the vertical lift bridge as seen in the Grand Theft Auto III rendition of Liberty City. (Wikipedia)


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Taken on October 15, 2003