Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge, also known as Bixby Canyon Bridge, on the Big Sur coast of California, is one of the most photographed bridges in California due to its aesthetic design, "graceful architecture and magnificent setting".[3][4] It is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge. The bridge is 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco and 13 miles (21 km) south of Carmel in Monterey County along State Route 1.

Before the opening of the bridge in 1932, residents of the Big Sur area were virtually cut off during winter due to blockages on the often impassable Old Coast Road, which led 11 miles (18 km) inland. The bridge was built under budget for $199,861 (equivalent to $3.07 million in 2018 dollars[5]) and, at 360 feet (110 m),[1] was the longest concrete arch span on the California State Highway System. It is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.[6]

The land north and south of the bridge was privately owned until 1988 and 2001. A logging company obtained approval to harvest redwood on the former Bixby Ranch to the north in 1986, and in 2000 a developer obtained approval to subdivide the former Brazil Ranch to the south. Local residents and conservationists fought their plans, and both pieces of land were eventually acquired by local and federal government agencies. After a $20 million seismic retrofit completed in 1996, the bridge remains functionally obsolete. Its 24-foot (7.3 m) width does not meet modern standards requiring bridges to be 32 feet (9.8 m) wide.

Bixby Creek Bridge
Bixby Creek Bridge, California, USA - May 2013
Bixby Creek Bridge from its northern end
Coordinates36°22′17″N 121°54′07″W / 36.37139°N 121.90194°WCoordinates: 36°22′17″N 121°54′07″W / 36.37139°N 121.90194°W
Carries SR 1
CrossesBixby Creek
LocaleBig Sur
Monterey County
OwnerState of California
Maintained byCalifornia Department of Transportation
Designreinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge
Total length714 feet (218 m)[1]
Width24 feet (7 m)
Height280 feet (85 m)
Longest span360 feet (110 m)[1]
Clearance below260 feet (79 m)[1]
Construction startAugust 24, 1931
Construction endOctober 15, 1932
OpenedNovember 27, 1932
Daily traffic4,500[2]
Bixby Creek Bridge is located in California
Bixby Creek Bridge
Bixby Creek Bridge
Location in California


The bridge is "one of the most photographed features on the West Coast" and in the world. It has been featured on "postcards, TV ads, everywhere," according to Debra Geiler, project manager for the Trust for Public Land. The bridge's location on the scenic Central Coast of California, the parabolic shape of the arch, the tall spandrel columns, and the architectural piers contribute to an "intense aesthetic experience."[7][8][3][9] "It's the gateway to Big Sur and the interior has never been logged. The land is pristine." Zad Leavy, former executive director of the Big Sur Land Trust, described the land as "...the most spectacular meeting of ocean and land in the entire United States."[10][11][12]

Negative visitor impact

The bridge was already popular before the introduction of smart phones and social media, and visitors to the Bixby Creek Bridge and other Big Sur attractions have dramatically increased since then.[13] The bridge was rated as the No. 1 “Instagram-Worthy Destination for 2019 Travels” by the website[14]

There are no toilets within several miles of the bridge, and visitors resort to defecating in nearby bushes. Residents complain about toilet paper, human waste, and trash littering the roadside.[15]

During holiday weekends and most summer vacation periods, traffic can come to a standstill as motorists wait for a parking spot. There is a pull out to the north and west side of Highway 1, but when it is full, visitors sometimes fail to completely pull off the highway, leaving inadequate space for passing vehicles. Visitors sometimes park on the east side of the highway on the Old Coast Road, blocking the road and residents' access to their homes.[16][17]

Walking on the roadway near the bridge can be extremely hazardous due to the narrow lanes and steep, high cliffs.[18] The California Highway Patrol has begun restricting parking along certain portions of the highway nearby to prevent accidents.[14] Due to the large number of visitors, congestion and slow traffic between Carmel and the bridge is frequently the norm during popular holiday and vacation periods.[19]


The bridge is 714 feet (218 m) in total length and 24 feet (7.3 m) wide, with 260 feet (79 m) of clearance below, and has a main span of 360 feet (110 m), which places 50% of the total roadbed above the arch.[1] The arch ribs are five feet thick at the deck and nine feet thick at the springing line, where they join the towers at their base. The arches are four and one-half feet wide.[20] The bridge was designed to support more than six times its intended load.[21]

The two large, vertical buttresses or supporting pillars on either side of the arch, while aesthetically pleasing, are functionally unnecessary. Engineers of later arch bridges such as the Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge omitted them from the design.[22] The Rocky Creek Bridge and the Malpaso Creek Bridge to the north are also open-spandrel arch bridges built of reinforced concrete.


The state first began building Route 56, or the Carmel–San Simeon Highway, in 1919. A number of bridges needed to be constructed, the largest among them across Bixby Creek.[23]

Bridge design

Bixby Creek Bridge 1932.
Bixby Creek Bridge under construction, 1932

State engineers considered two alternatives to crossing the creek, an inland route and a smaller bridge, or a coastal location and a larger bridge. The inland route would have needed an 890-foot (270 m) tunnel cut though the Santa Lucia Mountains to a 250-foot (76 m) bridge upstream.[23] The engineers selected the coastal route because it was safer, more scenic, and least affected the environment.

California state highway engineer C. H. Purcell and bridge engineer and designer F. W. Panhorst considered whether to build a steel or concrete span. A steel bridge would cost more to build and maintain, as the sea air would require expensive ongoing maintenance and painting. A steel bridge was also less in keeping with the natural environment. Using concrete reduced material costs and allowed more of the total cost to be paid to workers, which was a positive aspect of the design during the Depression.[3] They chose concrete in part because it would not only reduce both construction and maintenance costs but would also echo the color and composition of the natural rock cliff formations in the area.[21]

The state awarded a contract for $203,334 to the lower bidder, Ward Engineering Company of San Francisco, on August 13, 1931. Construction began on August 24, 1931.[21]

Design and materials

Bixby Creek Bridge aerial view
An aerial view of the Bixby Creek Bridge showing the curved approaches at both ends

Over 300,000 board feet (700 m3) of Douglas fir timber, used to build a 250-foot (76 m) high falsework to support the arch during construction, was transported from the railroad terminal in Monterey over the narrow, one-way road to the bridge site. The falsework, built by crews led by E. C. Panton, the general superintendent, and I. O. Jahlstrom, resident engineer of Ward Engineering Co., was difficult to raise, because it was constantly exposed to high winds. Some of the falsework timbers were 10 by 10 inches (250 mm × 250 mm).[24] It took two months to construct the falsework alone. When high waves threatened the falsework foundation, construction was halted for a short time until winter storms abated.[23]

The crews excavated 4,700 cubic yards (3,600 m3) of earth and rock.[25] Eight hundred twenty-five trucks brought in 600,000 pounds of reinforcing steel.[25] Sand and gravel were supplied from a plant in Big Sur.

Construction required 45,000 sacks or 6,600 cubic yards (5,000 m3) of cement[25] which was transported from Davenport, near Santa Cruz, and from San Andreas.[23] Crews began placing concrete on November 27. The concrete was transported across the canyon on platforms using slings suspended from a cable 300 feet (91 m) above the creek.[24]

Bixby Creek Bridge, The Big Sur, California
Bixby Creek Bridge from the northeast

The bridge was completed on October 15, 1932,[24] although the highway was not finished for another five years. At its completion, the bridge cost $199,861 and, at 360 feet (110 m), was the longest concrete arch span on the California State Highway System.[21] The bridge was necessary to complete the two-lane road which opened in 1937 after 18 years of construction.[26] The completion of construction was celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by Dr. John L.D. Roberts, who had conceived of the need for the road.[27]

Rainbow Bridge

After the bridge was completed, it was at times known as the Rainbow Bridge, due to the presence of the Rainbow Lodge resort on the creek upstream from the bridge. It was operated by former Army Captain Howard Sharpe and his wife, Frida. After timber harvesting was no longer profitable, Sharpe bought the Bixby Creek Canyon ranch in 1919. He built a dirt road from the lodge up the canyon to Bixby Landing and another road down to the beach at the mouth of Bixby Creek. He sold part of his land to the state as part of the bridge right-of-way in 1930.[23] When the bridge was completed and tourists no longer needed to descend to his lodge on the creek, he built a new lodge on the highway north of the bridge.[28]

Seismic retrofitting

The bridge was retrofitted beginning in 1996 with an analysis by bridge engineering company Buckland & Taylor as part of the Caltrans Phase II seismic retrofit program.[29] In their detailed evaluation of the bridge's seismic vulnerabilities, they were challenged to find a solution that met several difficult issues, including severe load factors, extremely limited physical access, maintaining the appearance of the existing historical structure, and a requirement by the State of California that at least one lane of the bridge remain open at all times. The crux of the design was the longitudinal post-tensioning of the entire bridge deck from end to end.[30]

The $20 million seismic retrofit began in May 1998. The cost of the retrofit was considerably increased by the requirement to preserve the historical look of the bridge.[3] Prime contractor Vahani Construction of San Francisco was assisted by Faye Bernstein & Associates and Waldron Engineering. To reinforce the abutments supporting the bridge deck at either end, engineers put in place a floating slab, continuous with the deck, keyed into a massive pile cap with six 72-inch (1,800 mm) diameter cast-in-drilled-hole (CIDH) piles behind each abutment. To support the towers, engineers designed a full height structural wall that was integrated within each of the two existing towers. During the retrofit, they removed the top portion of the towers, including the roadway, and replaced them with a prestressed diaphragm that anchors the full height of the vertical tower. The diaphragm simultaneously distributes the vertical prestressing forces uniformly to the new concrete structural wall and the existing tower's concrete.[31]

The deck, which curves from one end to the other, was reinforced by adding heavily confined edge beams encasing high strength steel along the inside face of the exterior longitudinal girders underneath. These rods extended from one end of the roadway to the other. The reinforced edge beams ensure continuity across the many expansion joints and help distribute the bending strains due to lateral flexure.[31] In addition to the reinforced edge beam, four large prestressing tendons were installed the length of the bridge along the underside of the deck slab. These tendons are stressed to pre-compress the concrete deck to approximately 800 psi and also serve as flexural reinforcement along with the high strength rods. Finally, engineers found a way to reinforce the bent columns attached to the arch, which possess complex and varying geometric challenges. They encased the bent columns with thin, lightweight, composite carbon fiber jackets that provide the necessary degree of confinement to ensure ductile response and also mimic the original design.[31]

In addition to the analyses performed by Buckland and Taylor, Caltrans commissioned Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to perform an independent study of the structure both with and without the proposed retrofit measures in place. The final report, which was published in June 1999, concludes that the retrofit appears to be appropriate even for earthquake ground motions including near-field displacement pulses, which were not considered in the original analyses.[32]

As a result of the retrofit, the continuous, stiffened deck has four lateral reaction points: two new massive abutments anchored by large-diameter, cast-in-drilled-hole piles. The two towers are strengthened and anchored to rock with tie-down anchors within the towers. The arch ribs are laterally supported at their crowns by new shear keys that link them to the reinforced deck.[30][33] The expensive retrofit, completed in November 2000, still left the bridge officially classified as "functionally obsolete" because at 24 feet (7.3 m) in width, the bridge is less than the 32 feet (9.8 m) standard required of newly built bridges.[3]

Scenic designation

The bridge contributes to the scenic attraction of driving Highway 1. The 72 miles (116 km) section of the highway from Cambria to Carmel Highlands was the first in the state to be designated as a Scenic Highway in 1965.[34][35] In 1966 First Lady Lady Bird Johnson led the official scenic road designation ceremony at Bixby Creek Bridge.[36]


The land was historically occupied by the native Esselen people who visited the coast seasonally to harvest shellfish along the coast and fish offshore. When the Spanish established the California mission system, only a very few were not baptized and conscripted, and they soon left the mountains to work on the nearby ranches.[37]:114 Governor Juan Alvarado granted the land from present day Carmel south to Palo Colorado Canyon, two miles north of Bixby Creek, to Marcelino Escobar in 1839 as part of the Rancho San Jose y Sur Chiquito. The land was later acquired by Alvarado's brother-in-law José Castro. Castro built a trail from Monterey to Palo Colorado Canyon as early as 1853, when he filed a map of his purchase.[38][39]

Originally Mill Creek

Bixby Creek is named after pioneering Yankee businessman Charles Henry Bixby. Originally from Livingston County, New York, he arrived in California in 1852 and remained for five years. He returned east before coming back to California. After some success raising cattle in Sonoma County, he obtained a patent on April 10, 1889 for 160 acres (65 ha) south of Bixby Creek,[40] and later bought additional tracts of land on the north side of the creek, between it and Palo Colorado Canyon. He built a sawmill with a capacity of twelve thousand feet of lumber per day on the creek, which for many years was known as Mill Creek. He harvested timber and turned it into shakes, shingles, railroad ties, and trench posts. He also harvested the bark of the tanbark oak, which was used for tanning cow hides.[41] he built a landing chute and hoist to transfer the lumber to ships anchored slightly offshore. Schooners were moored to deadeyes embedded in rocks of the adjacent shore. Cargo was hoisted in slings from the landing along a cable winched onto the waiting ship.[42]

Bixby discovered lime deposits on Long Ridge above Mill Creek. He had kilns built and used mules to haul the lime to the coast on wooden sleds. It was impossible to build a wharf from the cliffs that dropped into the ocean, and he instead built a hoist that could be used to ferry goods to and from ships anchored slightly offshore.[23][43] The powdered lime was packed into barrels that were then attached to cable strung from the coastal cliff and about 50 yards out into the Pacific Ocean, where it was loaded aboard coastal schooners. He sold the fired lime for use in cement, mortar, and other building materials.[4]

Coast road extended south

Bixby tried to persuade the county to build a road to Bixby Creek, but they refused, replying that "no one would want to live there." In 1870, Bixby and his father hired men to improve the track and constructed the first wagon road including 23 bridges from the Carmel Mission to Bixby Creek.[44]

Sometime later Bixby partnered with William B. Post and extended what became known as the Old Coast Road south to his ranch. At Bixby Creek, the road was necessarily built 11 miles (18 km) inland to circumvent the deep canyon. It also went inland to circumvent the Little Sur River. It then led to the Post Ranch on the Rancho El Sur near present-day Andrew Molera State Park.[43][39]:4–2 The 30-mile (48 km) trip from Carmel could take three days by wagon or stagecoach.[45]:24 The single-lane road was closed in winter when it became impassable. Coast residents would occasionally receive supplies via a hazardous landing by boat from Monterey or San Francisco.[39]:4–4

Sold to lime company

In 1906, after he exhausted the supply of commercial timber, Bixby sold the land to the Monterey Lime Company. Lime was in great demand to help re-build San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. The company built lime kilns 3 miles (4.8 km) up Bixby Canyon from the coast and mined the high grade limestone located in the area. To feed the limekiln fires, they cut much of the old growth redwood in the canyon. They built a 3 miles (4.8 km) aerial tram to haul the barrels of limestone from Long Ridge to Bixby Landing. A small group of homes grew up around the original Bixby Homestead. The kilns operated for four years until 1911 when a log jam during winter rains caused a flood in the canyon. closed the kilns in 1910. The tram was used for a while longer to off and on-load supplies for the community from schooners.[46][47]

Lumber harvesting proposed

In 1986 a portion of the land formerly owned by Bixby was held by Humboldt County-based Philo Lumber Company. They obtained a state permit to log over a million board feet of redwood. The residents of Palo Colorado Canyon were intensely opposed to the plan, but it was only derailed by the savings and loan crisis. The property was seized by federal financial regulators and was later sold to the Big Sur Land Trust, which then sold it to the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District in 1988. The district joined it with three adjacent properties to form the Mill Creek Redwood Preserve.[46]

Adler Ranch sale

In the 20th century, Axel Adler built a cabin on the former Bixby Ranch and gradually acquired more land. In 2013, a 1,199 acres (485 ha) portion of the 1,312 acres (531 ha) Adler Ranch was put on the market for $15 million. It is located at the end and south of Palo Colorado Road. It is adjacent to Los Padres National Forest, Mill Creek Redwoods Preserve, and includes the peak of Bixby Mountain and the upper portions of Mescal Ridge. The El Sur Ranch and Pico Blanco Mountain are to the south. The property is especially valuable because it includes nine legal parcels, five of which can be built on. The Big Sur Land Trust stated it is not interested in acquiring the property.[48][49][50]

The nonprofit Western Rivers Conservancy, which buys land with the goal to protect habitat and provide public access, secured a purchase agreement. It is interested in selling the land to the US Forest Service, which would make it possible for hikers to travel from Bottcher’s Gap to the sea. But some local residents are opposed to the forest service acquiring the land. They are concerned about a lack of federal funding to maintain a critical fire break on the land.[49][48][50]

Early resorts

Bixby landing2
Bixby Landing in 1911—known then as Hamilton's Landing on Mill Creek—was used to transport supplies and products to and from ships off shore.

A post office was built near the sawmill in the early 1880s and was then moved west to the mouth of the canyon. Thomas Fussell bought the land and then sold it to Horace Hogues. In 1919, Captain Howard G. and Frida Sharpe bought the Bixby Creek canyon property. Remnants of its prior use included an old ranch house, barn, corral, dance hall, stable, numerous out-buildings, and several cabins that they rented to visitors. Sharpe built a dirt road from the lodge up the canyon to Bixby Landing and another road down to the beach at the mouth of Bixby Creek.[47]

When the bridge was completed, the lodge on Bixby Creek was no longer on the route used by tourists. In 1931 Sharpe built a new stone Rainbow Lodge on the western shoulder of the highway immediately north of the bridge. The former lodge in the canyon bottom was abandoned. In 1938, Sharpe re-discovered a colony of California sea otters, thought to be extinct. More tourists came to see the sea otters and Sharpe added cabins and renamed it the Bixby Inn. The restaurant was closed at the beginning of World War II when gas conservation restricted travel and later sold to Gallatin Powers, who renamed it Gallatins, and later the Crocodile's Tail. Years later, the site became geologically unsafe and the building was bulldozed over the cliff. A fire in 1941 burned what was left of the ranch on the canyon floor, and the Sharpes subdivided the property and sold parcels.[51][24][47]

Brazil Ranch

Brazil Ranch Big Sur c1890
The Brazil Ranch on Serra Hill south of Bixby Creek on the Big Sur coast circa 1880s or 1890s

The former Brazil Ranch (also known as the Bixby Ocean Branch) is located on Serra Hill immediately south of Bixby Creek and the Bixby Creek Bridge, making it one of the most photographed spots on the Big Sur coast. Job Heath obtained a land patent on May 20, 1884 and he and his wife Serena Waters homesteaded the ranch.[52] Antonio Brazil married Mary Pfeiffer and they bought Heath's property.[53] The hill is not named for Junipero Serra, but is a corruption of the Spanish word, cerro, meaning "high hill."[54]

Acquired by Alan Funt

The Brazil family operated the 1,255 acres (508 ha) ranch for nearly a century. In 1977, Tony and Margaret Brazil sold the ranch to Allen Funt, creator of the television show Candid Camera. Funt raised quarter horses and cattle on it. He built a cabin and barn on the site and improved it for use as a ranch. After Funt had a stroke in 1993, he tried to interest environmental groups in buying the land without success.[55]

Subdivided by developer

After Funt died in 1999, land speculator Ben Sweeney and two partners, acting as Woodside Partners, a Las Vegas-based company, began nine months of negotiations to buy the property. Sweeney's lawyer unearthed long-forgotten records showing that the property was originally composed of nine land patents. He and his partners persuaded county officials to keep mum and bought the land for $9.2 million. As permitted by law, he obtained county permission to subdivide the land into nine parcels, vastly increasing its value.[56] He soon sold Funt's house and the parcel it stood on for $7.2 million.

Purchased by trust

Sweeney's actions stunned local community leaders and activists, who joined together to prevent him and his partners from subdividing and developing the land. Less than a year later, the Trust for Public Land bought the property for more than $26.25 million, almost tripling what the partners paid. On September 24, 2002, they and the U.S. Forest Service announced that the land had been added to the Los Padres National Forest.[55][57] While criticized by some for the huge profit they took in selling the property to the trust, a local real estate agent said if Sweeney and his partners had sold the land to private parties, they could have earned as much as $50 million.[58]

Public access

The public can enter the USFS land using an unmarked gate to a little-used dirt road on the east side of Highway 1, 0.1 miles (0.16 km) south of the Bixby Creek Bridge. There is no parking lot. Visitors can hike up a steep trail to the ridge overlooking the coast.[59][44]

Trail and road access

To access the Mill Creek Redwood Preserve, a 2.7 miles (4.3 km) trail was built by hand over ten years from Palo Colorado Road to an overlook. To limit traffic on narrow Palo Colorado Road, access is limited to day use and only six permits per day are available. Visitors must obtain a permit in advance from the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District to visit the preserve. The trail head is located 6 miles (9.7 km) inland on Palo Colorado Road.[46][43] The Old Coast Road that the bridge replaced remains open to vehicles, weather permitting. The Old Coast Road from the north side of Bixby Creek is 11 miles (18 km) long, cutting inland across the Little Sur River, and ends near the northern border of Andrew Molera State Park, 8.3 miles (13.4 km) to the south along Highway 1.


Big Sur bridge, Monterey County

Viewed from the Old Coast Road

Bixby Bridge (2)

Afternoon view

Bixby Bridge (seen from northwest corner) (1)

The central spandrel arch

Bixby Bridge por Gustavo Gerdel

Sunset view

Bixby Bridge (Unsplash lsOy-suy2-g)

Early morning

Icons (Unsplash)

Southern view

Morning Fog, Bixby Creek Bridge, CA (11781983615)

The northern tower

Pacific Coast at Bixby Creek Bridge 2013

Coastal view

Morning Fog, Bixby Creek Bridge, CAa (11782757526)

Morning fog

In popular media

Express mail stamp

Express mail stamp

The bridge was commemorated in an express mail stamp issued on February 3, 2010. The United States Postal Service introduced an $18.30 definitive stamp designed by Carl T. Herrman of North Las Vegas, Nevada. The stamp features a color digital illustration of Bixby Creek Bridge by Dan Cosgrove of Clarendon Hills, Illinois.[60][61]

Film and video games

The bridge was featured in the opening scene of the 1969-70 television series Then Came Bronson, in the films Play Misty for Me and The Sandpiper, and in numerous auto commercials.[62][63][64] The bridge is also featured in the video game Grand Theft Auto V.[63] Most recently, the bridge was featured in the opening credits of the 2017 miniseries Big Little Lies.[65]

BASE jumping deaths

On January 20, 2016, two BASE jumpers died when they landed near the surf and drowned. Officials only determined that the two were missing on January 23 after their rental car was found abandoned near the bridge. Searchers found only the man's parachute, helmet, and video camera. Video recovered from the helmet camera revealed how they died. Mary Catherine Connell landed safely on the small beach but was overwhelmed in succession by three waves. BASE jumping instructor Rami Kajala saw her overtaken by the waves and unsuccessfully attempted to rescue her.[66][67] Kajala's body was found more than two weeks later.[68] Connell's body was never recovered.[69]

View of the Pacific Ocean from Bixby Creek Bridge
View of the Pacific Ocean from Bixby Creek Bridge

See also


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  2. ^ Bridgehunter – Historic Bridges of the U.S.: Bixby Creek Bridge Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
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  4. ^ a b Spradling, David (April 21, 2015). "Young Bixby Wagons West". Archived from the original on September 14, 2016. Retrieved September 5, 2016.
  5. ^ Thomas, Ryland; Williamson, Samuel H. (2019). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved April 6, 2019. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the Measuring Worth series.
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  7. ^ Handbook of International Bridge Engineering. Chen, Wai-Fah, 1936-, Duan, Lian,. Boca Raton. ISBN 1439810303. OCLC 859154927.CS1 maint: others (link)
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External links

This article contains content from government publications that are in the public domain.

1932 in architecture

The year 1932 in architecture involved some significant events.

Big Sur

Big Sur is a rugged and mountainous section of the Central Coast of California between Carmel Highlands and San Simeon, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. It is frequently praised for its dramatic scenery. Big Sur has been called the "longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States," a "national treasure that demands extraordinary procedures to protect it from development" and "one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world, an isolated stretch of road, mythic in reputation." The stunning views, redwood forests, hiking, beaches, and other recreational opportunities have made Big Sur a popular destination for about 7 million people who live within a day's drive and visitors from across the world. The region receives about the same number of visitors as Yosemite National Park, but offers extremely limited bus service, few restrooms, and a narrow two-lane highway with few places to park alongside the road. North-bound traffic during the peak summer season and holiday weekends is often backed up for about 20 miles (32 km) from Big Sur Village to Carmel.

The unincorporated region encompassing Big Sur does not have specific boundaries, but is generally considered to include the 71-mile (114 km) segment of California State Route 1 between Malpaso Creek near Carmel Highlands in the north and San Carpóforo Creek near San Simeon in the south, as well as the entire Santa Lucia range between these creeks. The interior region is mostly uninhabited, while the coast remains relatively isolated and sparsely populated, with between 1,800 and 2,000 year-round residents and relatively few visitor accommodations scattered among four small settlements. The region remained one of the most inaccessible areas of California and the entire United States until, after 18 years of construction, the Carmel–San Simeon Highway (now signed as part of State Route 1) was completed in 1937. Along with the ocean views, this winding, narrow road, often cut into the face of towering seaside cliffs, dominates the visitor's experience of Big Sur. The highway has been closed more than 55 times by landslides, and in May 2017, a 2,000,000-cubic-foot (57,000 m3) slide blocked the highway at Mud Creek, north of Salmon Creek near the San Luis Obispo County line, to just south of Gorda. The road was reopened on July 18, 2018.

The region is protected by the Big Sur Local Coastal Plan, which preserves it as "open space, a small residential community, and agricultural ranching." Approved in 1986, the plan is one of the most restrictive local-use programs in the state, and is widely regarded as one of the most restrictive documents of its kind anywhere. The program protects viewsheds from the highway and many vantage points, and severely restricts the density of development. About 60% of the coastal region is owned by governmental or private agencies which do not allow any development. The majority of the interior region is part of the Los Padres National Forest, Ventana Wilderness, Silver Peak Wilderness or Fort Hunter Liggett.

The original Spanish-language name for the mountainous terrain south of Monterey was el país grande del sur, which means "the big country of the south." The name el Sud (also meaning "the south") was first used in the Rancho El Sur land grant made in 1834. In 1915, English-speaking settlers formally adopted "Big Sur" as the name for their post office.

Bixby Creek

Bixby Creek may refer to:

Bixby Creek (California)

Bixby Creek (Michigan)

Bixby Creek Bridge, bridge in California

California State Route 1

California State Route 1 (SR 1) is a major north–south state highway that runs along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. At a total of just over 659 miles (1,061 km), it is the longest state route in California. SR 1 has several portions designated as either Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), Cabrillo Highway, Shoreline Highway, or Coast Highway. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 5 (I-5) near Dana Point in Orange County and its northern terminus is at U.S. Route 101 (US 101) near Leggett in Mendocino County. SR 1 also at times runs concurrently with US 101, most notably through a 54-mile (87 km) stretch in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, and across the Golden Gate Bridge.

The highway is designated as an All-American Road. In addition to providing a scenic route to numerous attractions along the coast, the route also serves as a major thoroughfare in the Greater Los Angeles Area, the San Francisco Bay Area, and several other coastal urban areas.

SR 1 was built piecemeal in various stages, with the first section opening in the Big Sur region in the 1930s. However, portions of the route had several names and numbers over the years as more segments opened. It was not until the 1964 state highway renumbering that the entire route was officially designated as SR 1. Although SR 1 is a popular route for its scenic beauty, frequent landslides and erosion along the coast have caused several segments to be either closed for lengthy periods for repairs, or re-routed inland.

Charles H. Purcell

Charles Henry Purcell (27 January 1883 – 7 September 1951) was the chief engineer during the construction of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, and one of the most distinguished civil engineers in the United States during the 20th century. The American Society of Civil Engineers selected the Bay Bridge as one of the seven modern civil engineering wonders of the United States in 1955. As California Director of Public Works, he oversaw construction of the first freeway in the American West. He also oversaw design of the first stack interchange in the world, the Four Level Interchange just north of downtown Los Angeles. He played an instrumental role on the National Interregional Highway Committee which persuaded Congress to authorize the Interstate Highway System. He worked primarily in the public sector on the United States west coast throughout his life.

Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge

The Frederick W. Panhorst Bridge, more commonly known as the Russian Gulch Bridge, is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel deck arch bridge on California State Highway 1, spanning Russian Gulch Creek in Russian Gulch State Park, Mendocino County, California, United States. It is named after Frederick W. Panhorst, who served as the Chief of the Bridge Section of the California Division of Highways from 1931 to 1960.

List of bridges

The list of bridges is a link page for any bridges that are notable enough to have an article, or that are likely to have an article in the future, sorted alphabetically by country.

List of bridges in the United States by height

This is a list of the highest bridges in the United States by height over land or water. Height in this list refers to the distance from the bridge deck to the lowest point on the land, or the water surface, directly below. A bridge's deck height is greater than its clearance below, which is measured from the bottom of the deck structure, with the difference being equal to the thickness of the deck structure at the point with the greatest clearance below. Official figures for a bridge's height are often provided only for the clearance below, so those figures may be used instead of actual deck height measurements. For bridges that span tidal water, the clearance below is measured at the average high water level.

The minimum height for inclusion in this list is 130 ft (40 m), which may be either the deck height or the clearance below depending on available references. Note that the following types of bridges are not included in this list: demolished high bridges; historic high bridges such as those over reservoirs—regardless of current reservoir levels—that were filled after the bridge was complete, unless the dam has since been removed; and vertical-lift bridges, even those with raised span heights greater than this list's minimum height.

The clearance below required under bridges for the largest ships—container ships, ocean liners and cruise ships—is around 220 feet (67 m) so there are often bridges with approximately that height located in coastal cities with bays or inlets, such as New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge and San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

Malpaso Creek

Malpaso Creek is a small, coastal stream 5 miles (8.0 km) south of Carmel in Monterey County, California, United States. It is generally regarded as the northern border of Big Sur in central coastal California.

Nancy Cartwright

Nancy Jean Cartwright (born October 25, 1957) is an American actress, voice actress, comedian, writer, producer and director, known for her long-running role as Bart Simpson on the animated television series The Simpsons. Cartwright also voices other characters for the show, including Nelson Muntz, Ralph Wiggum, Todd Flanders, Kearney and Database.

Cartwright was born in Dayton, Ohio. Cartwright moved to Hollywood in 1978 and trained alongside voice actor Daws Butler. Her first professional role was voicing Gloria in the animated series Richie Rich, which she followed with a starring role in the television movie Marian Rose White (1982) and her first feature film, Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983).

After continuing to search for acting work, in 1987, Cartwright auditioned for a role in a series of animated shorts about a dysfunctional family that was to appear on The Tracey Ullman Show. Cartwright intended to audition for the role of Lisa Simpson, the middle child; when she arrived at the audition, she found the role of Bart—Lisa's brother—to be more interesting. Matt Groening, the series' creator, allowed her to audition for Bart and offered her the role on the spot. She voiced Bart for three seasons on The Tracey Ullman Show, and in 1989, the shorts were spun off into a half-hour show called The Simpsons. For her subsequent work as Bart, Cartwright received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Voice-Over Performance in 1992 and an Annie Award for Best Voice Acting in the Field of Animation in 1995.

Besides The Simpsons, Cartwright has also voiced numerous other animated characters, including Daffney Gillfin in The Snorks, Rufus in Kim Possible, Mindy in Animaniacs, Pistol in Goof Troop, Margo Sherman in The Critic, Todd Daring in The Replacements, and Charles "Chuckie" Finster, Jr. in Rugrats and All Grown Up! (a role she assumed in 2002, following the retirement of Christine Cavanaugh). In 2000, she published her autobiography, My Life as a 10-Year-Old Boy, and four years later, adapted it into a one-woman play. In 2017, she wrote and produced the film In Search of Fellini.

Narrow Stairs

Narrow Stairs is the sixth studio album by indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie, released on May 12, 2008 in the United Kingdom and on May 13, 2008, in the United States, on Atlantic and Barsuk Records.Four singles were released for the album: "I Will Possess Your Heart", "Cath...", "No Sunlight", and "Grapevine Fires". "I Will Possess Your Heart" reached number six on the U.S. Alternative Songs chart, was named iTunes UK song of the year 2008, and was nominated for the 2009 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song. "Cath..." and "Grapevine Fires", also reached number ten and number twenty-one on the U.S. Alternative Songs chart, respectively.

Narrow Stairs reached number one on the Billboard 200, making it Death Cab for Cutie's highest charting album to-date.

Parabolic arch

A parabolic arch is an arch shaped like a parabola. Such arches are used in bridges, cathedrals, and elsewhere in architecture and engineering.

Rocky Creek Bridge (California)

Rocky Creek Bridge is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge in California, built in 1932. It is located in Monterey County, on the Cabrillo Highway ( SR 1) about 12 miles (19 km) south of the village of Carmel-by-the-Sea (or "Carmel" for short), and about a mile north of the more famous Bixby Creek Bridge. As its name implies, it spans the Rocky Creek. A turnout with limited parking space exists to the northwest of the bridge, for tourist use.

The vicinity ecology is noteworthy in that the marine waters at the mouth of Rocky Creek are a habitat for the endangered southern sea otter, E. l. nereis. Additionally, on a ridge above Rocky Creek is one of the few known habitats of Yadon's piperia, a North American rare and endangered species of orchid.

Sam Farr

Samuel Sharon Farr (born July 4, 1941) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for California's 17th (1993–2013) and 20th congressional districts (2013–17). He is a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected to Congress in a 1993 special election when longtime Democratic Rep. Leon Panetta resigned to become Director of the Office of Management and Budget. On November 12, 2015, he announced his retirement from Congress after the 2016 elections.

Sea otter

The sea otter (Enhydra lutris) is a marine mammal native to the coasts of the northern and eastern North Pacific Ocean. Adult sea otters typically weigh between 14 and 45 kg (31 and 99 lb), making them the heaviest members of the weasel family, but among the smallest marine mammals. Unlike most marine mammals, the sea otter's primary form of insulation is an exceptionally thick coat of fur, the densest in the animal kingdom. Although it can walk on land, the sea otter is capable of living exclusively in the ocean.

The sea otter inhabits nearshore environments, where it dives to the sea floor to forage. It preys mostly on marine invertebrates such as sea urchins, various molluscs and crustaceans, and some species of fish. Its foraging and eating habits are noteworthy in several respects. First, its use of rocks to dislodge prey and to open shells makes it one of the few mammal species to use tools. In most of its range, it is a keystone species, controlling sea urchin populations which would otherwise inflict extensive damage to kelp forest ecosystems. Its diet includes prey species that are also valued by humans as food, leading to conflicts between sea otters and fisheries.

Sea otters, whose numbers were once estimated at 150,000–300,000, were hunted extensively for their fur between 1741 and 1911, and the world population fell to 1,000–2,000 individuals living in a fraction of their historic range. A subsequent international ban on hunting, conservation efforts, and reintroduction programs into previously populated areas have contributed to numbers rebounding, and the species occupies about two-thirds of its former range. The recovery of the sea otter is considered an important success in marine conservation, although populations in the Aleutian Islands and California have recently declined or have plateaued at depressed levels. For these reasons, the sea otter remains classified as an endangered species.

The Sandpiper

The Sandpiper is a 1965 American drama film directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

Then Came Bronson

Then Came Bronson is an American adventure/drama television series starring Michael Parks that aired on NBC. It was created by Denne Bart Petitclerc, and produced by MGM Television. Then Came Bronson began with a television film pilot that aired on NBC on March 24, 1969; the pilot was also released in Europe as a theatrical feature film. This was followed by a single season of 26 episodes airing between September 17, 1969 and April 1, 1970.

Windows Spotlight

Windows Spotlight is a feature included by default in Windows 10 that downloads pictures and advertisements automatically from Bing and displays them when the lock screen is being shown on a computer running Windows 10. Users are occasionally given an opportunity to mark whether they wish to see more or fewer images of a similar type, and sometimes the images are overlaid with links to advertisements. In 2017, Microsoft began adding location information for many of the photographs.

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