If you’ve ever been to San Diego, chances are you’ve probably heard of Coronado Island. Coronado Island is home to the famous Hotel Del, the North Island Naval Air Station and many hotels, restaurants and shopping for locals and out-of-towners. Coronado Island is known as San Diego’s “Crown City”. You can catch a wave on the beach, take a stroll down Orange Ave or simply gaze over the Downtown San Diego skyline. But how do you get to Coronado Island, you ask? Well, there are essentially two ways: the Coronado Island Ferry and the Coronado Bridge.
The San Diego–Coronado Bridge, is locally referred to as the Coronado Bridge and is a prime symbol of San Diego’s history. The Coronado Bridge crosses over San Diego Bay linking the City of San Diego to Coronado. The bridge itself is actually designated as State Route 75. It features five lanes, with a movable median barrier that changes the number of lanes on either side depending on the time of the day and traffic influx.
After two years of full construction, the bridge opened on August 3, 1969, and became quick access for local commuters & visitors. It was an important asset to the city because it helped eliminate the over-crowded, long-term vehicle ferries that crossed the San Diego Bay. At a whopping 2.12 miles, this bridge was designed by the primary architect Robert Mosher. The engineers who worked alongside Mosher helped determine how much steel to put in the 30 pylons that line the lower portion of the bridge.
Fun fact: Mosher stated he designed the 30 arched towers, of the bridge, after Balboa Park’s Cabrillo Bridge.
If you were to take a look at the Coronado Bridge you would notice the major curve in the bridge, the curve is 90 degrees and serves a very specific purpose. As Coronado Island is home to the Naval Air Station, it was very important to make sure all of the Navy Aircraft carriers were able to successfully sail right underneath. Adding the curve gave the bridge a height of exactly 200 feet and a 4.67% grade. One thing people love about driving over the bridge is the unobstructed view. The barrier railings reach only 34-inches allowing you to look out your window and see beautiful views of the San Diego skyline, bay and the city.
There have been a few changes since the original opening of the bridge in 1969, and in 1976 special rods were added to secure the structure from any possible earthquake damage. Passing over the Coronado Bridge originally began by way of toll. In 1969, the cost was $0.60 each direction. In 1980, the cost increased to $1.80 but only upon entering Coronado. Years later the total cost round-trip was $1.00 but carpools could cross for free. In 2002, the Coronado Bridge toll was discontinued. The California Toll Bridge Authority funded the bridge with a $46.7 million dollar bond. At this time, it was one of the eight toll bridges owned by the state and operated by the Division of Bay Toll Crossings.
Fun fact: In 1970, it received the Most Beautiful Bridge Award of Merit of the American Institute of Steel Construction.
The Coronado Bridge is now a key symbol of San Diego. Coronado Island, itself, continues to thrive everyday and easy access is granted by the toll-free bridge. Read more about our delicious Coronado restaurant partners on our NEW SPOTLIGHT REVIEW and #chomp with us on a Bite Coronado walking food tour!