Monday, November 9, 2015

The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Lift Bridge Last Days

Cutter used to dismantle steel tresses.

The demolition of the historic, 67 year-old Commodore Schuyler Heim (Steel) Lift bridge (SR-47/SR-103) is well underway.

T
he tresses that once stood over the north- and southbound lanes are gone.  Wrecking crews are cutting the lift section of the bridge into pieces.
The 400 hundred-ton counter-weights will be broken down into small pieces, and the big green steel twin towers will be cut down and recycled. 
Opened in 1948, designed by the Division of Highways (as Caltrans was known before 1973) and built by the U.S. Navy, the SR-47 lift-span bridge will be replaced by a fixed span, concrete structure that will conform to higher seismic standards to enhance safety, and benefit the local, state and national economy, and international trade.   Additionally, replacing a deteriorating structure with a new one will also reduce maintenance costs and lead to improved roadway connections.
The Heim has stood as an integral structure that has served as a connection between Long Beach and Wilmington  (LA) to Terminal Island. Dock workers, oilers, sailors, even employees at an early Ford auto plant in Long Beach, cargo ships and small boats alike, and its neighbor, the Badger Avenue rail lift bridge have seen the Heim go up and down over the decades.
Hollywood Factoid: The Heim has been part of the backdrop of several television shows and movies, including Mannix, Being John Malkovich, and Inception.