Skip to main content

1941 Lanes Bridge Renovations (Old California State Route 41)

I was debating what to do on a day off and finally decided to check out the old 1941 Lanes Bridge which used to carry California State Route 41.  The 1941 Lanes Bridge can be seen on the northbound CA 41 Freeway as it crosses the San Joaquin River.  Since the original bridge was completed in 1889 the Lanes Bridge has been a major highway crossing for traffic over the San Joaquin River.  There has been three bridges at the Lanes Bridge crossing, only the original is the only one no longer present.  I made my way north out of Fresno during rush hour crossing the San Joaquin River on the CA 41 freeway into Madera County.  When I arrived on the old alignment of CA 41 I was greeted by something I didn't expect, a Caltrans maintenance sign.


I knew the 1941 Lanes Bridge was under going renovations but I had no idea it was still under Caltrans Maintenance.  The 1941 Lanes Bridge had one lane shut down over the San Joaquin River and was undergoing deck repairs.





Which in a way is double edge sword, I'm not happy my photos weren't great but I'm glad that a historic bridge is being preserved.  The design of the 1941 Lanes Bridge is traditional Art Deco concrete design which was a common bridge design by the California Division of Highways prior to the mid-20th Century.  The Google Car actually took a really good image of the 1941 Lanes Bridge in full back in January this year.

1941 Lanes Bridge GSV Image

Look northward the full scale of the repairs by Caltrans are obvious, no wonder the project is slated to end in 2021.


As state previously the original Lanes Bridge was completed in 1889 and was a steel truss design.  The original Lanes Bridge was located about a mile up river north of the 1941 bridge roughly where Lanes Road ends today at the San Joaquin River.  The original Lanes Bridge was first called the Yosemite Bridge but soon became known as the Lanes Bridge due Lanes Station which was a general store in close proximity which opened in 1894.  In 1917 the original Lanes Bridge had a partial collapse but was quickly repaired.  By 1934 the original Lanes Bridge had become part of CA 41 but was considered obsolete even for the standards of the time.  The original 1934 alignment of CA 41 used modern Friant Road and Lanes Road to cross the San Joaquin River via the original Lanes Bridge.  The original Lanes Bridge was heavily damaged in a 1937 flood along the San Joaquin River but was once again repaired.  It wasn't until the summer of 1940 when an overloaded truck crashed through the road deck of that the use of the original Lanes Bridge ended.  CA 41 traffic was temporarily rerouted to Friant over the 1906 North Fort Bridge until the 1941 Lanes Bridge was opened. 

Fresnobeehive.com has a really good article about bridge crossings over the San Joaquin River.  The article includes various photos of the original Lanes Bridge and the 1941 replacement.

Lanes Bridge Spanned Decades

The 1935 Fresno County Map shows the location of the original Lanes Bridge at the San Joaquin River.

1935 California Division of Highways Fresno County Map

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 190; a Trans-Sierra Highway that could have been

This past week I decided to take a small scale road trip on California State Route 190 from CA 99 east to the unbuilt section over the Sierra Nevada Range.  While I was in for what turned out to be a fun drive following the course of the Tule River watershed what I found researching the back story of CA 190 was one of the most complex and unusual stories of any California State Highway.  Given that I had a ton of older photos of the eastern segment of CA 190 in the Mojave Desert of Inyo County I thought it was time to put something together for the entire route. The simplified story of CA 190 is that it is a 231 mile state highway that has a 43 mile unbuilt gap in the Sierra Nevada Range.  CA 190 is an east/west State Highway running from CA 99 in Tulare County at Tipton east to CA 127 located in Death Valley Junction near the Nevada State Line in rural Inyo County.  The routing CA 190 was adopted into the State Highway system as Legislative Route 127 which was adopted in 1933 acc

Old US Route 40 on Donner Pass Road

While completing California State Route 89 between Lassen Volcanic National Park and US Route I took a detour in Truckee up the infamous Donner Pass Road. Generally I don't dispense with the history of a roadway before the route photos but the history of Donner Pass is steeped within California lore and western migration.  The first recorded Wagon Crossing of Donner Pass was back in 1844.  The infamous Donner Party saga occurred in the winter of 1846-47 in which only 48 of the 87 party members survived.  Although the Donner Party incident is largely attributed to poor planning and ill conceived Hastings Cutoff it largely led to the infamous reputation of Donner Pass. The first true road over the Sierra Nevada Range via the Donner Pass was known as the Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Road.  The Dutch Flat & Donner Lake Wagon Road was completed by 1864 to assist with construction of the Central Pacific build the First Trans-Continental Railroad over Donner Pass.  The websit

California State Route 159 (former California State Route 11 and US Route 66)

California State Route 159 was a post 1964-Renumbering State Route which was designated over former segments of California State Route 11 and US Route 66.  As originally defined California State Route 159 began at Interstate 5/US Route 99 at the Golden State Freeway in Los Angeles.  California State Route 159 followed Figueroa Street, Colorado Boulevard and Linda Vista Avenue to the planned Foothill Freeway.  California State Route 159 was truncated during 1965 to existing solely on Linda Vista Avenue where it remained until being relinquished during 1989.  California State Route 159 was formally deleted from the State Highway System during 1992.   The history of California State Route 159 Prior to 1933 the Division of Highways was not actively involved in maintaining urban highways outside of occasional cooperative projects.  The responsibility for signage of US Routes in cities was thusly given to the Automobile Club of Southern California in the Southern California region.  This bei