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Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge


Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge

Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge
Carries State Route 47
Crosses Cerritos Channel,
Port of Los Angeles
Locale Los Angeles, California
Design Vertical-lift bridge
Total length 700 ft (210 m)[1] (4,000 ft including approach viaducts)[2]:20
Width 81 feet (25 m) (including 75 ft for the six traffic lanes)[2]:21
Height 236 feet (72 m) tall (186 ft (57 m) above roadway)[2]:21
Longest span 240 feet (73 m)[2]
Clearance below 175 feet (53 m)[2]:14 fully raised
Opened January 10, 1948

The Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge is a vertical-lift bridge in the Port of Los Angeles. Dedicated on January 10, 1948,[3] the bridge allows State Route 47 (the Terminal Island Freeway) to cross over the Cerritos Channel. It is one of the largest vertical-lift bridges on the West Coast.[2] At the time of its opening, it was the highest in the county.[1] Its towers are 186 feet (57 m) tall above the roadway deck and about 236 feet (72 m) tall when measured from the water level at high water.[2]:2,14


  • History 1
  • In popular culture 2
  • See also 3
  • External links 4
  • References 5


The deck of the bridge is an open grid to decrease weight and ease lifting of the bridge to allow ship traffic to pass underneath. The state of California took over operation of the bridge from the city of Los Angeles in 1964.[1] As of 1988, the bridge was being raised frequently, about 8,500 times per year.[1]

SR 47 and the connecting State Route 103 are heavily used by trucks to bypass part of the crowded Interstate 710 freeway. Due to the large amount of heavy truck traffic over the bridge, the deck is subject to excessive wear. The deck was completely replaced in 1997 but was still under extreme distress. The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) installed eight experimental fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) panels and attached sensors to test stress, load bearing, and temperature variations of the panels to determine their effectiveness as a permanent replacement.[4] Chicago-based engineering firm CTLGroup installed strain gages and thermocouples within the layers of the FRP. Each month, technicians perform a remote static load test of the bridge, providing direction to onsite Caltrans staff while monitoring real-time data from the firm's Chicago office.

Construction is underway to replace the existing Schuyler Heim Bridge with a four-lane fixed-span bridge by 2016 in order to meet current safety and earthquake standards.

Construction began in 1946.[2]:17 The Chief Engineer for the project until October 1947 was H. E. Wilson.[2]:5 The bridge is named in honor of Commodore Schuyler Franklin Heim, who was put in charge of the Naval Operating Base on Terminal Island in 1942.[2]:12

In popular culture

  • The bridge is seen in the opening credits of the American television series Mannix. Mike Connors, playing Joe Mannix, is seen running across the bridge.
  • It was also seen on an episode of the 1970s TV series Emergency!.
  • The bridge plays a key role in the plot of the 2010 film Inception.

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c d Woodyard, Chris (October 27, 1988). "Caltrans Begins $2-Million Project to Shore Up Aging Drawbridge in Harbor".  
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Christina Chiang, Jeremy Hollins, and Melanie Lytle (January 2011). "HAER no. CA-HEIM: Commodore Schuyler F. Heim Bridge" (pdf).  
  3. ^ "High Lift Bridge Dedicated at Terminal Island", Los Angeles Times, January 11, 1948, p. 14.
  4. ^ "Schuyler Heim Bridge Deck Instrumentation". CTLGroup. Retrieved April 27, 2006. 



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