The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

EMPEROR NORTON BRIDGE  ::  Bridge-Naming Precedents

California State Bridges with Multiple Names

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Photograph © 2016 Ayush Shrestha 

San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Photograph © 2016 Ayush Shrestha 

Starting in the early 1960s, the California state legislature established a precedent for passing resolutions providing state-owned bridges with names in addition to the names that already were in use. Today, there are least 30 state bridges that the state recognizes as having two or more names.

This includes single bridges with two names, as well as complex bridge systems in which the system has one or more names and one or more of the system's component bridges has its own name. The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is an example of a bridge system in which the system has a name and one of the system's bridges — the Western crossing — has a separate name. A similar naming approach is used for the Benicia–Martinez Bridge and the Carquinez Bridge — both, twin bridges. 

The Humboldt Bay Bridge is a three-bridge system in which the system has two names and each of the component bridges has a name — a total of five names for the system.

It appears that, in a little less than half of the cases of California state bridges that have more than one name, the state legislature approved a second "memorial" name within a few years of the bridge's opening. The Emperor's Bridge Campaign is proposing that the legislature add "Emperor Norton Bridge" as a system name to stand alongside "San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge" — a name that has been in use for much longer.

Below are listed 18 state bridges or bridge systems (including the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge) that have multiple names — and for which, in nearly all cases, the state legislature has passed the resolution(s) for a second or honorary name(s) (including for component bridges of bridge systems) many years — sometimes decades — after the original name had been in use. The information is from 2016 Named Freeways, Highways, Structures and Other Appurtenances in California (California Department of Transportation, 2017, pdf).   

For each bridge or bridge system, there are multiple names. The boldface name is the original. Where the information for a given name includes a series of three letters and a number, followed by a year — for example, SCR 100, 1955 — this refers to the legislative resolution that authorized the name. "SCR" stands for Senate Concurrent Resolution; "ACR" stands for Assembly Concurrent Resolution. The specific abbreviation tells in which legislative house the resolution was introduced.

Names for which no resolution is listed are historical or geographic names that were never officially legislated but that may have been in use — including on highway signage — for many years.   

Following the Bay Bridge, the bridges and bridge systems are listed chronologically according to when the state legislature passed resolutions authorizing additional names.
 

1
San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge — Route 80, San Francisco County / Alameda County — system of two bridges and a tunnel originally built 1936 (Eastern bridge replaced 2013)

  • Willie L. Brown, Jr., Bridge — Western bridge — ACR 65, 2013

2
Robinson Ferry Bridge — Route 101, Humboldt County — built 1941
Paul E. Mudgett Memorial Bridge — SCR 6, 1963

3
Humboldt Bay Bridge — Route 255, Humboldt County — system of three bridges built 1971
Samoa Bridge — SCR 52, 1971

  • Meyer Bistrin Memorial Bridge — across the Eureka Channel — ACR 23, 1977
  • Carl L. Christenson, Jr., Memorial Bridge — across the Middle Channel — ACR 23, 1977
  • Richard R. Denbo Memorial Span — across the Samoa Channel — ACR 132, 1980

4
Russian Gulch Bridge — Route 1, Mendocino County — built 1940

Frederick W, Panhorst Bridge — SCR 145, 1974

5
Benicia–Martinez Bridge — Route 680, Contra Costa County / Solano County — system of three parallel bridges built in 1930 (railway), 1962 (vehicular) and 2007 (vehicular)

  • George Miller, Jr., Memorial Bridge — Southbound bridge (1962) — ACR 59, 1975
  • Congressman George Miller Benicia–Martinez Bridge — Northbound bridge (2007)  — ACR 62, 2007

6
Richmond-San Rafael Bridge — Route 580, Contra Costa to Marin County — built 1956 — SCR 100, 1955
John F. McCarthy Memorial Bridge — SCR 19, 1981

7
Sutter Causeway Bridge — Route 113, Sutter County — built 1968
Leslie A. Lowden Memorial Bridge — ACR 34, 1991

8
Salinas River Bridge — Route 101, Monterey County — built 1971
Skinner–Serrano Memorial Bridge — ACR 105, 1992

9
Pit River Bridge — Route 5, Shasta County — built 1941
Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Bridge  — SCR 59, 1994

10
Penasquitos Creek Bridge — Route 15, San Diego County — built 1964
Knott Memorial Bridge — ACR 13, 1995

11
Sonoma Creek Bridge — Route 37, Solano County — built 1969
Richard "Fresh Air" Janson Bridge  — ACR 68, 1996

12
Helena Creek Bridge — Route 29, Lake County — built 1934
Robert H. "Bob" Weatherwax Memorial Bridge — SCR 34, 1997 

13
Rancheria Creek Bridge — Route 49, Amador County — built 1983
Amador County Veterans Memorial Bridge — SCR 43, 1997

14
Burns Creek Bridge — Route 1, Monterey County — built 1935
Thomas S. Sanders Memorial Bridge — SCR 48, 1997

15
Rio Vista Bridge — Route 12, Solano County — built 1944 
Helen Madere Memorial Bridge — ACR 100, 1998

16
Carquinez Bridge — Route 80, Contra Costa County / Solano County — system of two parallel bridges originally built in 1927 and 1958 , with the 1927 (then Westbound) bridge replaced in 2003

  • Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge — Westbound bridge — SCR 97, 2000

17
Bryte Bend Bridge — Route 80, Yolo County / Sacramento County — built 1971
Caltrans Maintenance Worker Memorial Bridge —  SCR 105, 2002

18
Jacksonville Bridge — Route 120, Tuolumne County — built 1971 — ACR 99, 1971
James E. Roberts Memorial Bridge —  SCR 4, 2007

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