Public access to California’s Point Bonita Lighthouse has been stopped because National Park officials have deemed that the suspension bridge going to the lighthouse is no longer safe. The bridge will be dismantled and a new bridge to be built is expected to open by March, 2012.
Originally, access to the lighthouse did not require a bridge. However, in 1940, erosion cut a gap in the trail to the lighthouse. At that time the keepers set up a breeches buoy to allow access to the lighthouse until a wooden bridge could be built. In 1954 the wooden bridge was replaced by the suspension bridge that stands there today.
The current suspension bridge, which resembles the Golden Gate Bridge (which can be seen from the lighthouse), underwent repairs in 1979 and again in 1991. However, officials now say that rust caused by the sea air has resulted in the metal parts deteriorating beyond repair. The work to replace the bridge is expected to start in September of this year and will cost anywhere from $850,000 to $1.3 million.
Point Bonita Lighthouse was the last California lighthouse to be automated and it is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It is also the only lighthouse in the United States to be reached via a suspension bridge.
This story appeared in the
Mar/Apr 2011 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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