Bridge where it is, not what it looks like

Here’s an interesting look back at the plans for the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge, the graceful blue span over San Diego Bay.

But it’s not graceful at all.

This story, from the September-October 1962 edition of California Highways and Public Works Magazine via archive.org, is a Tinkertoy bridge, not at all like what was built.

Stories in this magazine generally gush about the progress and benefits of freeways and road improvements, but this article was very straightforward.

“A bridge at this location, costing an estimated total of $29,627,000, was recommended as being the most practical of nine alternate possibilities studied, seven of which were found to be financially feasible,” said the story, which was not bylined. “Five of the alternatives involved two-lane tube construction; the other four involved four-lane bridges (four-lane tubes were found too costly to be considered).”

Architect Robert Mosher said he had to fight for what became an iconic design.

“It was originally planned as a trestle bridge that would have been an ugly, ungainly structure,” Mosher said in a 2010 interview. He died in 2015.

The bridge opened August 3, 1969. My dad drove it to work on North Island that day.

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