2 votes

Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge




BH Photo #113853


Street Views 


Vertical lift bridge over Cerritos Channel on CA 47 in Long Beach
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
Replaced by a new bridge
Built 1946; Demolished 2019
Polygonal Warren Through Truss Vertical lift
Length of largest span: 272.0 ft.
Total length: 3,976.2 ft. (0.8 mi.)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+33.76649, -118.23965   (decimal degrees)
33°45'59" N, 118°14'23" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/385205/3736955 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Long Beach
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
Inventory numbers
CA 53-2618 (California bridge number)
BH 10955 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of January 2016)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Very Good (8 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 60.7 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 2, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: Bridge is gone
  • September 4, 2014: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • June 16, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: Corrected Name
  • May 27, 2011: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge is now doomed.
  • December 9, 2010: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • May 9, 2010: New Street View added by Ed Hollowell
  • April 23, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: corrected location

Related Bridges 


  • David Kimbrough - kimbrough-photo [at] charter [dot] net
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Ed Hollowell - erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Douglas Butler
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com


Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge
Posted October 15, 2018, by Brianna Tarness (briannatarness82 [at] gmail [dot] com)

The new bridge is open to traffic. The original through truss lift span has been disassembled and floated downstream. The truss approach spans, piers/abutments, and towers remain, although tower demolition is in progress.

Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge
Posted February 9, 2015, by Peter O (peter [at] planetorth [dot] com)

Caltrans page re: replacement, which was well under way in Feb 2014 when a truck commercial was filmed on the bridge and at the Port of LA's nearby warehouse one.




Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Andy

Another good picture from the pier showing the entire truss section

Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Andy

Here are a few more pictures

Commodore Schuyler F. Helm Bridge
Posted June 16, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Ed: I have attempted to correct everything. The main issue was that someone posted HAER photos for the Ford Bridge onto this page by mistake, and also had the bridge name mixed up. I corrected the name on this page. James will have to delete the HAER photos on this page to make it completely right.

The Ford Bridge already has its own page on BridgeHunter, and I also made some corrections to that page. In particular, note that the Ford Bridge has been demolished and replaced with a vertical lift, so its a little late for anyone to adopt the bridge. Also, note that the HAER documentation does not flush out the significance of the design. It seems like some consulting engineer made the HAER documentation, rather than an expert HAER bridge historian. The design is exceedingly rare (but not unique) since when it is closed it functions as a single simple through truss span. Most bascule bridges have trusses that cantilever out to the center, so that the truss depth is shallow in the center and deep at the abutments. Note that the Ford Bridge is the opposite, greater truss depth at the center of the span.

Cerritos Channel (Henry Ford) Bridge
Posted June 15, 2011, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

The Henry Ford Bridge and the Helms Bridge have been confused here. These are two different bridges. The Ford is a draw bridge and the Helms is a lift bridge. California 47 goes over the Helms. The Ford Bridge has been up for adoption, with no takers since 1994.

Cerritos Channel (Henry Ford) Bridge
Posted April 4, 2011, by Andy

The bid opening for the replacement of this bridge is later this month. The demolition will begin with a year and traffic will be detoured during the new bridge construction.

On a side note I saw a car commercial this weekend that was shot on the pier and this bridge is shown in a few shots as well as the Seaside Freeway Bridge on the east side of the pier.

Cerritos Channel Bridge
Posted May 9, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I have added a new entry for the Henry Ford next to this one.

Cerritos Channel Bridge
Posted April 25, 2010, by Nathan Holth

If this bridge was listed historic, and was up for replacement and there was a federal agency involved in any way, Sections 106 and 4(f) are triggered, and then yes, the bridge would have been offered for anyone who could relocate it. In addition, funds up to the cost of demolition would be available for preservation. Any taker would have to sign a preservation covenant saying they would preserve the relocated bridge.

Sometimes, a bridge owner might make a similar offer on their own as well, regardless of federal involvement or historic status. I have no idea if that happened here.

Cerritos Channel Bridge
Posted April 24, 2010, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I had heard, and I'm posting it here, the the Henry Ford Bridge was available to about anyone who would pay to have it dismantled. Anyone else know about this?

Cerritos Channel Bridge (#53+2618) Ford & Helms Bridges
Posted October 17, 2007, by David Kimbrough (kimbrough-photo [at] charter [dot] net)

There are actually two bridges across the Cerritos Channel. Both connect Terminal Island with Wilmington, a district of Los Angeles. On the west is the Henry Ford Bridge which is railroad bridge and immediately to the west is the Commodore Schuyler F. Helms drawbridge for truck and cars. These are critical links between the Los Angeles - Long Beach harbor, one the busiest in the world, the busiest on the Pacific Coast of the Americas, and the rest of North America.

To see more photographs of these and other bridges of Los Angeles County, go to:


Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.