Thursday, November 26, 2015

McPhaul Bridge (Yuma, AZ), 11/25/2015

Known as the "bridge to nowhere," the McPhaul Bridge is an 800' long suspension bridge built in 1929 that spanned the Gila River north of Yuma. It was named for Henry Harrison McPhaul who was the only Yuma resident to become an Arizona Ranger. It is also said to have been the inspiration for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 

Today the bridge is closed and determined to be unsafe for even foot traffic. 

You can, however, walk beyond the "closed sign" to a fence closer to the bridge. From there we went to the rocky area on the right for a better view. 

We followed the path to the road that passes underneath the bridge where there are only desert sand and rocks. The arid Arizona climate has kept the bridge in surprisingly good condition.

Our doggy, Sadie, had a great time running around under the bridge!

It was determined that the bridge could not handle modern traffic. In 1968, a dam was built upstream on the Gila River. At that time the river and highway were re-routed to a smaller bridge. This subsequently proved to be an unwise decision as the new bridge was destroyed by a flood in 1993 (and the McPhaul Bridge would have been high enough to withstand it). 

The bridge is off the beaten path and there are not signs marking its location along the road. To find it, get off at Exit 12/Fortuna Road of Interstate 8 and follow signs to Highway 95 North. It is located on Highway 95 less than 5 miles north of the intersection with Fortuna Road. We parked at From the Farm and walked to the bridge from their parking lot. 

There is a store at From the Farm that sells jams/jellies made there, freshly-made sandwiches/soft drinks, plants and ornamental items for your garden, and many unique gift items. 

From the Farm is also a working farm with fields of crops all around. They are fenced off and we were careful not to trespass (or let Sadie explore) their fields. 

It seems crazy that this large bridge was abandoned in the 1960s when it appears to be in relatively good shape 85+ years after it was built. Regardless, it was fun to see. The bonus of this stop was browsing at From the Farm. It is definitely worth a visit!

The roadsideamerica application lists this place along with lots of other unusual attractions that are located throughout the US. When we are in a new city, I usually check it for interesting things to see. This one was a hit!

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