Albion River Bridge

The Albion River Bridge is a wooden deck truss bridge crossing the Albion River in Mendocino County, California. It is the only remaining wooden bridge on California State Route 1;[1][2] dramatic views of the bridge are visible from the nearby town of Albion, California.[3] It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in July 2017.

Albion River Bridge
Albion River Bridge.jpg
The Albion River Bridge, looking northwards from Albion, California
Coordinates39°13′36″N 123°46′09″W / 39.2266°N 123.7691°W / 39.2266; -123.7691Coordinates: 39°13′36″N 123°46′09″W / 39.2266°N 123.7691°W / 39.2266; -123.7691
Carries SR 1
CrossesAlbion River
LocaleAlbion, Mendocino County, California, USA
Maintained byCalifornia Department of Transportation
ID numberCA 10-136, BH 11122
Designwooden deck truss bridge
MaterialWood, with a steel center truss
Total length300 m (980 ft)
Longest span40 m (130 ft)
Construction end1944


The low bridge across the Albion River in 1866

The Albion River has been crossed by a bridge since 1861, when a state franchise was granted to the Albion Bridge Company (renewed in 1863 to the Albion River Bridge Company).[4] However, until the present bridge was built in 1944, the crossing was low, and could be reached only by treacherous grades up and down the bluffs on either side of the river.[5]

Construction and specificationsEdit

The present span was opened in 1944.[6] Because of World War II concrete and steel shortages, it was built of salvaged wood[1] treated with a copper azole preservative.[7] It includes a steel center truss that was also salvaged, possibly from an older bridge in Oregon,[8] supported by concrete towers.[7] It is 970 feet (300 m) long and its deck is 26 feet (7.9 m) wide.[6][7][9] As of 2000, it carries approximately 3,200 vehicles per day.[6]

Proposed replacementEdit

In 2009, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) proposed to replace the bridge and the nearby bridge over Salmon Creek to the south. The timbers of the existing bridge remain in good condition, but the central steel truss has been corroded and needs replacement, and the bridge deck does not meet modern safety standards for its width and rail design, rendering it functionally obsolete. The planned replacement bridge would feature a wider deck with separate pedestrian walkways.[8][10][11]

An open house to show residents the plans for a new bridge was held in 2014, with the start of construction estimated for 2018.[12] Caltrans has estimated that a replacement bridge could be in place by 2021. However, in 2015, Albion residents opposed to replacing the bridge filed to have it listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which could potentially slow any replacement.[2] The bridge was added to the National Register on July 31, 2017.[13]


  1. ^ a b Welcome to Mendocino County (PDF), Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce, 2009, archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-10-14.
  2. ^ a b Pogash, Carol (March 20, 2015), "Aging Bridge in California Needs All the Support It Can Get", The New York Times.
  3. ^ Kim, Susan C. (May 4, 2008), All quiet on the Navarro Coast, CNN.
  4. ^ Index to the laws of California, 1850-1893, Bancroft-Whitney Company, 1894.
  5. ^ Tahja, Katy M. (2008), Early Mendocino Coast, Images of America, Arcadia Publishing, p. 54, ISBN 978-0-7385-5946-9.
  6. ^ a b c Albion River Bridge, Historical Bridges of the U.S., retrieved 2010-08-21.
  7. ^ a b c "Wood Towers Feature of Albion Span", The Timberman, 46 (1): 88, 1944.
  8. ^ a b Albion Bridge, Scenic Bridge Railings, retrieved 2010-08-22.
  9. ^ Albion River Bridge, Structurae, retrieved 2010-08-22.
  10. ^ Salmon Creek/Albion River Bridge Replacement, California Department of Transportation, retrieved 2010-08-21.
  11. ^ Hartzell, Frank (May 14, 2009), "Historic coast bridges marked for replacement", Mendocino Beacon.
  12. ^ Hartzell, Frank (April 3, 2014), "Public can review Albion, Salmon Creek bridge replacement plans", Mendocino Beacon.
  13. ^ "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 7/28/2017 through 8/3/2017". National Register of Historic Places Program: Weekly List. National Park Service. August 4, 2017. Retrieved 2017-08-09.