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Los Angeles

Vincent Thomas Bridge

The Vincent Thomas Bridge is a 1,500-foot (460 m) long suspension bridge, opened in 1963, crossing the Los Angeles Harbor in the U.S. state of California, linking San Pedro, Los Angeles, with Terminal Island. The bridge is signed as part of State Route 47. It is named for California Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro. It is the fourth longest suspension bridge in California. It is also the bridge with the 76th longest span in the world. The clear height of the navigation channel is approximately 185 ft.

The bridge was built to replace the ferries that connected San Pedro and Terminal Island, in anticipation of increased traffic volume accompanying growth of the port. State legislator Vincent Thomas, representing San Pedro, was the bridge's champion. A special act of the legislature was required in order to name the bridge after Thomas while he was still in office.

Throughout the bridge's construction and in the early years after its opening, it was derided as a "bridge to nowhere". In the 1970s, however, its importance drastically increased as the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach displaced those of the San Francisco Bay Area as the principal port on the U.S. West Coast. Today, the Vincent Thomas Bridge carries a considerable volume of truck traffic from the southernmost slips of the Port of Los Angeles, in San Pedro, onto the Terminal Island Freeway and eventually to the southern end of the Long Beach Freeway; from there, freight goes from the port complex to the rail yards of East Los Angeles and the Inland Empire.