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Interesting Facts You Should Know About Coronado Bridge, San Diego

Priya Johnson Nov 1, 2019
The connecting link between San Diego and Coronado, this award-winning, 2.12-mile long bridge stands over San Diego Bay. In 1970, it was honored with the ‘Most Beautiful Bridge Award of Merit’ title, however, today it ranks as the third ‘Deadliest Suicide Bridge’ in the United States.

Fun Facts

  • This stunning bridge was opened on the 200th anniversary of San Diego’s founding.
  • Former President, Ronald Reagan was the first person to drive across this iconic bridge, when it opened on 3rd August 1969.
  • About 70,000 vehicles use this 47.6 million dollar bridge daily.
  • This bridge is open exclusively for motor vehicles. No bicycle or pedestrian paths.
  • Five-lane Bridge: 2-going – 2-coming and the 5th lane is opened in either direction depending on the traffic.
  • Since 2008, once a year cyclists are allowed to ride exclusively on this bridge.

  • In 1970, the American Institute of Steel Construction awarded it the title of the ‘Most Beautiful Bridge Award of Merit’.  

  • Since its opening in 1969, more than 400 people have jumped to their deaths from this bridge.

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Iconic Curve

Unlike other straight and short bridges, this bridge is long and curved. The 90-degree curvature was essential to keep the bridge stable at a height of 200 feet. Without this angle, it would not have been possible to raise the bridge to that height.

Why is the Bridge so Tall?

The bridge was built at such a height so that the tallest naval ships could pass below it. As San Diego is a naval port, the channel required the tall bridge to allow passage of ships beneath it.

Its 200 feet clearance level also enables empty oil-fired aircraft carriers to fly under the bridge (if need be).

Why is the Bridge Blue?

The bridge has been painted in a radiant blue shade to blend in with the sky and sea.

A crew is constantly painting the bridge to maintain its color and prevent the ocean breeze from corroding the bridge.

Urban Legend behind the Bridge

According to a legend, in case this bridge is bombed, its hollow central span (1,880 feet long) or box girder would float on water. 

As per the legend, this concrete and steel bridge has been intentionally designed this way so the US Navy could push aside the large floating central piece and still cross the bay.

Truth behind the Legend

Although theoretically, it is possible for the hollow central box to float if it hits the water, according to the main architect of the bridge, Robert Mosher, this legend is baseless.

The 1,880 feet long, hollow center span is connected to both sides of the bridge. A bomb cannot precisely separate an intact center span from its sides.
Any crack will let the water into the center span, causing it to sink. Only if the hollow box fell intact into the water could it float, and this is highly unlikely.