Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Historic Navajo Bridge

When the historic Navajo Bridge opened on Jan 12, 1929, Flagstaff's newspaper the Coconino Sun, called it, "the biggest news in southwest history."

Seeing the year 1929 reminded me that my parents could have went over this bridge on their honeymoon... as they were married Dec. 23, 1929.  However, it didn't happen, but it could have.

At that time it was the only bridge across the Colorado River for some 600 miles.  This bridge provided the first direct highway route between Arizona and Utah.

As good as this bridge was, they were not very forward thinking... and only made the width of the roadway 18 feet.  This was not enough to allow two of todays 18-wheelers to meet on the bridge...

and hence another bridge was built right beside it and opened in 1995...  some 55 years later.

Comparing the two bridges: the first bridge cost $390,000...  the second one cost $14,700,000.

The width of the roadway deck on the first bridge was 18 feet... the second one was 44 feet.

So now the truckers are happy... and so is everyone else.

The original bridge was then promoted to foot traffic only.  It is a truly awesome walk across the Colorado with some great views.

This section of the Colorado River was slow and gentle, as you can see by the reflection of the cliffs.

It would have been great to have a group of river rafts come paddling down for this photo.  We found out that all Colorado River raft groups leave from Lee's Landing, which is about 4 miles above this bridge.

Mid way across the bridge looks like an expansion joint with some chains between each half.  Someone must have been to Paris and saw the padlocks on the Pont des Arts Bridge where couples write their names on the padlock, attach it to the wire mesh and throw the key into the river Seine. How romantic!

I hope this couples marriage is lasting better than the ink they used to write their names on the padlock!

On our next trip this way I will plan ahead and bring a padlock for this spot.  Maybe we can get a tradition started here on this bridge!

Looking downstream on the Colorado River, which is about 467 feet below the bridge.  Wouldn't it be great to be drifting down this river and be able to take a photo of these two bridges as you pass by under them?

It was great to see people enjoying their walk across the bridge, stopping to enjoy the views along the way.  It is such a spectacular view!

Next to the Visitors Centre at the Navajo Bridge National Monument may well be the nicest restroom facilities we have seen on this trip.

Shirley was also quite impressed... hence she took several photos inside the ladies bathroom.

As we were about to leave this bridge site an RV with this sign on it parked near the washroom.  We had to chuckle at the saying painted on an old piece of driftwood...

"A 6-inch rain in Arizona is 1 drop every 6 inches."  We have seen a few 6-inch rain falls there!

If you are ever going on Highway 89A and cross the Colorado River here, we highly recommend stopping here to walk across the bridge and talk to the kind people in the Visitor Centre and enjoy all the facilities on this site.

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