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Colorado Street Bridge

Colorado Blvd., Pasadena, CA

East < GO > West

The historic Colorado Street (Boulevard) Bridge is located just west of Orange Grove Blvd. It features ornate lighting and guardrails as it curves gracefully across the Arroyo Seco a bit less than 150 feet below. It was claimed that this was the worlds tallest concrete bridge when it opened to traffic in 1913. The curve is the result of the search for a solid footing for the bridge piers and thus a lower cost of construction. In the end they apparently saved about $2,000.00 and got a much more interesting bridge in the bargain. The final cost of about $240,000.00 or so was still a pile of money in 1913.

Due to wear from use and earthquake damage the bridge was closed from 1989 to 1993 for extensive repairs and the addition of higher safety railings. The height of the railings has been raised a number of times to help keep people from accidentally or otherwise toppling over the side, a misfortune that has apparently befallen a fair number of folks. At the high point the bridge deck is about 150 feet above the ground below.

GPS: 34.14451, -118.16609

x The bridge spans a total of 1,428 feet with the longest span being 233 feet. The two lane roadbed is 28 feet wide plus 5 foot wide sidewalks on both sides. It seems incredible, but according to the historic register nomination form the ... 11,000 cubic yards of concrete ... used in constructing this massive bridge was all mixed in a single small cement mixed and poured into the hollow wooden forms ... one-half cubic yard at a time.

xTo view the bridge from below, take West Colorado Blvd. to North Orange Grove the east end of the bridge, turn right and cross the freeway bridge, then turn left and take West Holly St about one block west to Arroyo Dr. and turn left and go under the freeway bridge to N Arroyo Blvd. At that point you'll be just about under the bridge. Then turn around and backtrack to Colorado Blvd.

The guy on the bike gives a little hint about the scale of the bridge. Getting down below the bridge not only gives you an interesting look from a different perspective. It also gives you an idea of the steep climb a Model T Ford or other very early car would face trying to cross the Arroyo because that's what they had to do before this bridge was built.

This grand old bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.

Vintage Advertising Highlights

Arroyo Seco Bridge Between Pasadena and Glendale, Calif.

NOTE: I don't have a date for this postcard, but given the styla of the cars on the bridge it appears to be pretty soon after the bridge opened.

Photo(s): 2015



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.