The Admiral Clarey Bridge is a pontoon structure which connects Hawaii Route 99 (the Kamehameha Highway) on the Island of O'ahu over the waters of Naval Station Pearl Harbor to Navy owned Ford Island. The Admiral Clarey Bridge is not directly accessible to the public aside from access granted by way of tours to Pearl Harbor National Memorial. The Admiral Clarey Bridge is commonly referred to as the Ford Island Bridge.
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The background and development of the Admiral Clarey Bridge
Ford Island came under control of United States Congress in Reciprocity Treaty of 1875. The Reciprocity Treaty had a seven year term between the United States and the Kingdom of Hawaii. Upon the expiration of the Reciprocity Treaty the United States did not renew their lease on Ford Island but would begin to lease the waters of Pearl Harbor beginning during January of 1887. Ford Island was purchased by the John Papa ʻĪʻī estate in 1891 during the run up to the Kingdom of Hawaii being overthrown during 1893. Hawaii was formally annexed as a territory of the United States during August of 1898.
The Oahu Sugar Company began to harvest sugar on Ford Island beginning in 1899 via property lease. Ultimately the John Papa ʻĪʻī estate would agree to sell portions of Ford Island to the United States government for the construction of an Army Airfield during 1917. Additional to the land purchases the John Papa ʻĪʻī estate leased segments of Ford Island for the construction of Battery Boyd and Battery Henry Adair. During 1917 the 6th Aero Squadron was created and designated to the Ford Island. Most of the Airfield facilities on Ford Island were completed by 1918 and it was designated as Luke Field by 1919.
Naval Station Pearl Harbor was commissioned during December of 1919 but did not displace the Army from Ford Island. Over the coming decades the Navy began to slowly displace the around Ford Island which was largely spurred by the construction of Hickiam Army Field beginning in 1936. Hickiam Army Airfield was completed during 1939 which ultimately led to Ford Island being transferred to the Navy as Naval Station Ford Island. During September of 1939 an emergency proclamation spurred the development of new facilities on Ford Island in anticipation of war. Despite the calls for improved infrastructure Ford Island remained only accessible by way of boat or ferry over the waters of Pearl Harbor.
On December 7th, 1941 seven battleships were moored on Battleship Row of Ford Island; USS California, USS Maryland, USS Oklahoma, USS Tennessee, USS West Virginia, USS Arizona and USS Nevada. All seven battleships along with Ford Island were heavily damaged during the surprise Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor. The Oklahoma and most notably the Arizona were total losses. In the case of the sinking of the Arizona 1,177 officers and enlisted personnel were killed in the Japanese attacks.
Ford Island can be seen on at the height of military presence on O'ahu on the 1946 Army Day Map.
Following World War II the U.S. Pacific Fleet established the Fleet Intelligence Center, Pacific on Ford Island during 1955. Ford Island Naval Air Station was decommissioned during 1966 and became part of Naval Station Pearl Harbor. During early 1970 Naval Auxiliary Field Ford Island opened which was opened to civilian flight training operations. The United States Third Fleet would move their headquarters to Ford Island during 1973 and remained there until 1991.
Construction of the Admiral Clarey Bridge began January 10th, 1996 and was part of a $500,000,000 dollar investment into the upgrading of Ford Island. The Admiral Clarey Bridge was completed during early 1998 and dedicated on April 15th. The Admiral Clarey Bridge replaced the ferryboats Moko Holo Hehe and Waa Hele Honoa (pictured below).
The Admiral Clarey Bridge features a total length of 4,672 feet and mostly notably a moveable 930 foot pontoon span. The pontoon span of the Admiral Clarey Bridge allows access for the largest Naval battleships and aircraft carriers. The namesake Admiral Bernard Clarey served in the United States Navy circa 1934-1973. Admiral Clarey is most well known for being the Vice Chief of Naval Operations during the 1960s and Commander in Chief of the United States Pacific Fleet during the early 1970s.
On July 1st, 1999 civilian air traffic Naval Auxiliary Field Ford Island was ceased after the closure of Naval Air Station Barbers Point. Ford Island is now part of the Pacific Warfighting Center which broke ground in August of 2007. Most civilian traffic on the Admiral Clarey Bridge uses utilizes it via tour bus to access the Pearl Harbor National Memorial sites of; the USS Missouri, USS Utah and Pacific Aviation Museum.
Below the Admiral Clarey Bridge can be seen from Pearl Harbor National Memorial at the submarine USS Bowfin.