“A bridge adds energy to the landscape.” ~ Santiago Calatrava, world-renowned Spanish architect and engineer who conceived the Sundial Bridge’s unusual design
I was in the Redding area (in Northern California) for a wedding last June. With a few unscheduled hours early in the day I decided to do a little exploring, and knowing that the Sundial Bridge was nearby I made that my destination.
And . . . Wow!
A Few Bridge Facts
Per the website:
The Sundial Bridge at Turtle Bay crosses the Sacramento River in the heart of Redding, California.
As the name suggests, the Sundial Bridge is, in fact, a working sundial and is one of the largest in the world. The sundial shadow traces such a large arc that it can record only four hours a day, from 11am – 3pm.
The pylon is 217 feet high – almost 20 stories – so tall that it requires a red aircraft warning light.
The angle of the pylon is 42 degrees and points directly north.
The pylon is a gnomon for a giant sundial – its markers are set for the Summer Solstice (June 21st) when its shadow moves 1 foot per minute between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
There are 14 cables – 4342 feet of total length – that support the bridge.
The bridge weighs 1,600 tons. (By comparison, the Space Needle weighs 3,700 tons; the Eiffel Tower weighs 7,000 tons, and the Golden Gate Bridge is 419,800 tons.)
The bridge is designed to flex, sway, expand, and contract to absorb changes in the load.
Ironically, gravity keeps this bridge from falling down. The pylon and deck pull on one another through the cables. This tension supports both: The weight of the pylon holds up the deck and the weight of the deck keeps the pylon from falling over.
Gardens Across the Bridge
On the north side of the river is the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.
Approximately 25 acres of thoughtfully-planned gardens lie within the 200-acre Arboretum with a loop trail that links to the Sacramento River Trail. The garden pathways are wide, accessible and easy-to-navigate.
The Sundial Bridge connects the Turtle Bay Exploration Park with the McConnell Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. Handicap parking is available near the Main Park Entrance.
Did You Know?
Redding, California, is the Second Sunniest City in the United States – sunnier than Las Vegas or Phoenix. (Yuma, Arizona has the honor of being #1)
So bring a hat, sunscreen and water if you’re going to visit the Sundial Bridge during the summer months!