Estuary Bridges

Programs & Services

Miller-Sweeny drawbridge

Estuary Bridges Maintenance and Operation

Alameda County has a long history of drawbridges dating back to the 19th century. The first recorded drawbridge was built in Alameda County in 1871 near present-day Webster Street in Oakland. Bridge operations are regulated by the United States Coast Guard, which functions as the enforcement arm of the Federal Department of Homeland Security.

The Public Works Agency operates and maintains six drawbridges over the Oakland-Alameda Estuary. These bridges serve as a critical transportation corridor linking the City of Alameda to the City of Oakland and beyond. Governed by Federal Law, these bridges open on demand to accommodate marine traffic along the Bay, and as such, are attended to 24 hours daily. You can read more about these six drawbridges and their history below.

Coast Guard Regulations

Miller-Sweeney Bridge

This four-lane single leaf bascule bridge spans the Oakland Estuary for 98 feet. It was constructed in 1894 for $53,759 and was manually operated until 1911, when it became electrified.

Fruitvale Railroad Bridge

The Fruitvale Railroad Bridge is a vertical lift bridge for trains spanning the Oakland Estuary. The bridge has two 185 foot towers for the counterweights. The bridge was completed in 1951 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers at the cost of $946,757. It is maintained and operated by the Alameda County Public Works Agency under contract with the Army Corps of Engineers.

High Street Bridge

This two-lane, double-leaf bascule drawbridge was constructed in 1894 for $24,747. It spans 296 feet and carries approximately 30,000 vehicles each week day across the Oakland Estuary.

Park Street Bridge

The original Park Street Bridge was completed in 1893. The current 372-foot structure was completed in 1935 and was launched with an opening celebration that included a wedding of a man from Oakland and a woman from Alameda to symbolize the unity of the two cities.

Bay Farm Island Bridge

The Bay Farm Island Bridge is a single-leaf bascule bridge. It spans the San Leandro Bay inlet to the Oakland Estuary at Otis Drive. The bridge, owned by the State of California, was built in 1952. It is operated and maintained by the Alameda County Public Works Agency. It is the longest draw bridge in the County, almost 1,000 feet in length.

Bay Farm Island Bicycle Bridge

The Bay Farm Island Bicycle Bridge is the only drawbridge exclusively for bicycles and pedestrians in the United States. It is a single-leaf bascule bridge; it was completed in 1995 at the cost of $3.5 million. The bridge is owned by the State of California and maintained and operated by the Alameda County Public Works Agency.