Known as the Rio Vista Lift Bridge, this bridge was designed by R. Van Hearden of the California Division of Highways (now called the California Department of Transportation--Caltrans for short). It was determined eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places as a rare and significant example of its bridge type. To quote from the Caltrans 2010 Historic Bridge Inventory update:
"The Rio Vista Lift Bridge is one of six remaining lift bridges in the state of California. Five of these, including Rio Vista, are of historic age. The lift bridge is a rare type in the group of movable bridges; as technology improved, Caltrans engineers were more likely to build bascule bridges than lift structures. The bridge won the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) first place award for a movable bridge in 1960 in the nationwide contest.
The Rio Vista Lift Bridge is also the second longest lift bridge in the state, and has similar horizontal and vertical clearances to the longest lift bridge in the state, the Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge in Long Beach. The Rio Vista Lift Bridge measures 2,890 feet, the vertical clearance is 135 feet, and the horizontal clearance in the channel is 270 feet. The Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge is 3,976 feet long, has a vertical clearance of 175 feet, and a horizontal clearance in the channel of 240 feet. The Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge was been determined eligible for the National Register in 1998 under Criterion C in engineering as the highest vertical lift bridge in the Western United States and one of the most significant vertical bridges in the state of California. The Schuyler Heim Lift Bridge is scheduled to be replaced in 2011."