Keep Oakland Beautiful Points of Interest remind us of how interesting and beautiful Oakland is and why we should care about protecting it.
The Leimert Bridge, also known as the Sausal Creek Arch Bridge, is a fixed arch bridge, spanning Dimond Canyon. Completed in 1926, the concrete and steel bridge is 357 feet long and 117 feet high. At the time it was constructed, Leimert Bridge was considered to be the largest fixed arch bridge on the West Coast.
The bridge is named after a local realtor, Walter Leimert, who had the bridge built for cars, pedestrians, and an electric streetcar line, in order to develop the Oakmore Highlands neighborhood and connect it with Park Boulevard on the west side of the canyon. The bridge was designed by George Posey, who also designed the tunnel running between Oakland and Alameda, known as the Posey Tube.
The street that crosses the bridge is named Leimert Boulevard. As you drive across the bridge, you would never know that a sizeable canyon ran underneath. Sausal (Spanish for ‘willow’) Creek created the canyon, flowing beneath the bridge on its 3.1 mile journey from the Oakland Hills to the Oakland Estuary.
To see the bridge up close requires some hiking. The trail I chose began at the end of Bridgeview Drive. The dirt trail includes a number of switchbacks as it descends into the quiet, shady canyon. After crossing Sausal Creek (there are plenty of dry areas to cross in the summer), the trail climbs the opposite bank and then runs approximately south, parallel to the creek and Park Boulevard, on the canyon’s rim, just to the west. The trail passes beneath the bridge, allowing easy views of the arch construction. Today, there is a lot of graffiti on the bridge.
The Leimert Bridge is an interesting and relatively unknown piece of Oakland’s history and the canyon beneath it is wild and natural. The canyon, home to numerous species of birds and other forms of wildlife, is interesting in its own right.
Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.
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