Foresthill Bridge – Auburn, California - Atlas Obscura

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Foresthill Bridge

The tallest bridge in California was constructed for a project that was eventually cancelled. 


At 730 feet tall, the Foresthill Bridge is the fourth tallest bridge in the United States. Opened in 1973, this structure was built as part of the Auburn Dam Project. If completed, the dam would have filled the canyon below, submerging the roadway that connected the town of Foresthill to the outside world. The project was eventually canceled due to seismic and environmental concerns. However, the bridge is extensively used today and is a popular attraction.

The steel structure of this cantilever bridge was made in Japan by Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The two 403 foot concrete towers supporting the structure are the tallest bridge piers in the U.S. and are largely hollow inside. Had the dam been built, the water of the reservoir, at its highest level, would have risen to the top of the piers.

Pedestrian walkways run the full length along both sides of the bridge. Visitors will be treated to a breathtaking view of the American River Canyon below. The land intended to be used for the defunct dam project is now the Auburn State Recreation Area. From the bottom of the canyon, a trail offers visitors an easy hike below the bridge for a unique upward view.

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