Posted: Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The first permanent bridge that crossed the Albion River was a draw bridge which allowed the logging tugboat "Zenith" access up the river. This bridge was a part of the first county road that connected the lumber towns together. The bridge is long gone now but the wood members of the bridge pillar are still exposed in the South bank across the river. The old county road crossed Albion Flats where the road is today but it no longer has the sawmill at 18 feet above ground covering it.
As traffic increased, the county constructed a new wood bridge that crossed just up river. This bridge is seen in the upper half of the above photograph east of the sawmill. The bridge was 512 feet long and 16 feet wide with no wheel guards on the sides. Two of the three bridge footings were in the water and are still visible in the river east of the campground. In August 1933, the bridge and road became a part of the state highway system, subject to state maintenance. Soon after the state took over the road maintenance, the declared the bridge as badly worn from overloaded traffic and started the design of a replacement bridge.
When the state was ready for materials, World War II had started. A prolonged battle with the War Resources Board ensued over allocation of the needed steel. California finally prevailed and started construction on the existing bridge in 1942. The final plans allowed for just enough steel to reinforce the two concrete pillars and to build the 130 foot long truss between them. The rest of the bridge is specially treated redwood. Specifications for the bridge are 26 feet wide, 969 feet long, and 150 feet above the river.