Monday, February 24, 2014

Los Angeles County’s Last (Vehicle) Drawbridge: The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge (SR-47)

The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge is operated, maintained, and owned by Caltrans.  Inside a small office inside of the bridge facing the harbor, Caltrans bridge tenders can raise the bridge for ships entering the Cerritos Channel whenever necessary.  A new bridge is currently under construction to replace this historical structure.

The bridge crosses the Cerritos Channel in the Port of Long Beach, was commissioned by the United States Navy between 1946 and 1948, and is one of three bridges that connect Terminal Island to the mainland.  The bridge was named for Commodore Schuyler F. Heim, commanding officer of the Terminal Island Naval Base throughout World War II.

The United States Navy completed construction of the bridge in 1948 and then turned it over to the City of Long Beach, which operated the bridge until 1974.  The bridge is a vertical lift structure with a 240-foot span. It has an 820-ton movable (lift) span that is supported by two cross-braced steel towers suspended by cables, and a pair of 400-ton counterweights.