5 votes

Rio Vista Lift Bridge


Rio Vista Bridge

Looking E

Photo taken by Craig Philpott in February 2010


BH Photo #155404

Street Views 


Vertical lift bridge over Sacremento River on CA 12 in Rio Vista
Rio Vista, Solano County, California, and Sacramento County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1944; Rehabilitated 1960; Span adjacent to the eastern lift tower lost after being struck by the Italian freighter Ilice on January 15, 1967
- R. Van Hearden (Designer)
Vertical lift Warren through truss
Length of largest span: 306.1 ft.
Total length: 2,890.2 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Also called
Helen Madere Memorial Bridge (official name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+38.15899, -121.68393   (decimal degrees)
38°09'32" N, 121°41'02" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
10/615299/4224273 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Rio Vista
Average daily traffic (as of 2009)
Inventory numbers
CA 23-24 (California bridge number)
BH 11594 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of April 2018)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 48.2 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • September 30, 2016: Updated by Luke: Changed name to common name, noted span last to being struck in 1967.
  • December 7, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • October 20, 2012: New photos from Craig Philpott
  • January 14, 2012: New photo from Larry Matthews
  • July 3, 2011: Updated by Craig Philpott: added designer
  • March 8, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: Added Street View
  • February 17, 2010: New photos from Craig Philpott
  • October 25, 2009: Updated by Craig Philpott: corrected spelling

Related Bridges 



Rio Vista Lift Bridge
Posted December 28, 2020, by Gordon Osmundson (gordon [at] ihpworkshops [dot] com)

Sunset Feb 5, 2020

Sacramento River Bridge
Posted May 27, 2011, by Gloria Scott (Gloria [dot] Scott [at] dot [dot] ca [dot] gov)

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."