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The San Diego-Coronado Bridge: Feast Your Eyes on a Southern California Landmark With a Getaway at the Sofia Hotel

The San Diego-Coronado Bridge: Feast Your Eyes on a Southern California Landmark With a Getaway at the Sofia Hotel

US Navy cruiser passing under the San Diego-Coronado Bridge (US Navy public domain photo)

When you come stay with us here at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown San Diego, you’re close to one of America’s greatest bridges: a marvel of engineering and aesthetics that never fails to give a thrill to those who drive across it, and which crystallizes the beauty of San Diego Bay for those who admire it from shore.

We’re talking, of course, about the San Diego-Coronado Bridge, which for nearly a half-century has towered above our superb natural harbor as one of the region’s defining landmarks. Next time you soak up some top-grade Sofia Hotel hospitality, spare a bit of time to appreciate this architectural jewel just a few minutes from our door!

Introducing the San Diego-Coronado Bridge

Stretching a bit more than two miles (when approaches are included) between the City of San Diego’s waterfront and Coronado Island, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge opened in August 1969 during the bicentennial celebration of San Diego’s founding. It was built by Murphy-Pacific; its consulting architect, Robert Mosher, who passed away in 2015, rallied for the funds to preserve its curving form and advocated for its blue hue, which complements its sky-and-water backdrop.

The five-lane, steel-and-concrete Coronado Bridge (as it’s often shortened to) features one of the world’s longest continuous box girders—some 1,880 feet—and comes supported by 30 concrete towers with arched tops to evoke the locally prominent Mission-style architecture. The 90-degree turn the bridge executes and its 4.67% grade allow for 200 feet of clearance over the surface of San Diego Bay: a critical design feature facilitating the passage of aircraft carriers going in and out of Coronado Island’s Naval Air Station.

As the California Department of Transportation explains, the Coronado Bridge’s girders were hoisted into place by the “Marine Boss,” at the time the heftiest barge crane on the West Coast.

Needless to say, it didn’t take very long for this grand span to garner some accolades: In 1970, the American Institute of Steel Construction granted it the Most Beautiful Bridge Award of Merit.

Appreciating the San Diego-Coronado Bridge

Tens of thousands of commuters drive across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge every day, enjoying the gob-smacking view courtesy of concrete barriers only 34 inches high. You can also marvel at the bridge up-close from the shore at Coronado Tidelands Park and San Diego’s Cesar Chavez Park.

Once a year, meanwhile, the Bike the Bay event allows cyclists the rare pleasure of pedaling across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge as part of a non-competitive 25-mile-long ride. This year’s Bike the Bay takes place August 26th, so mark your calendar and come stay with us at the Sofia Hotel for the occasion!