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What is the Redding Sundial Bridge?

What is the Redding Sundial Bridge?

Explore the iconic Redding Sundial Bridge, an architectural marvel promoting art, culture, and environmental sustainability. Team


2 min read

April 27, 2023

The Redding Sundial Bridge, a striking architectural marvel nestled in the heart of Redding, California, is a true testament to creativity, innovation, and environmental sustainability. Spanning 710 feet in length and standing tall with a 217-foot pylon, the bridge not only serves as a functional pedestrian crossing over the Sacramento River but also an iconic symbol of the city's commitment to art, culture, and ecological preservation. In this article, we will delve into the history, design, and significance of the Redding Sundial Bridge, exploring the factors that make it a standout landmark in Northern California.

The design of the bridge is a fascinating tale.

History and Construction

Designed by the renowned Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava, the Redding Sundial Bridge was conceived as part of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park master plan in the late 1990s. The idea was to create a unique pedestrian bridge that could connect the north and south campuses of the park while minimizing the impact on the environment. The bridge's construction began in 2000 and was completed in 2004, costing approximately $23.5 million. It was primarily funded by the McConnell Foundation, a private, family foundation dedicated to supporting various community projects in the region.

The walkable bridge is a marvel to behold, walking through the shadow of a giant sundial.

Design and Features

The Redding Sundial Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge with an asymmetric, cantilever spar design, which is both visually stunning and structurally efficient. The 217-foot pylon, inclined at a 42-degree angle, supports the bridge deck through a network of cables, creating an impression of weightlessness and elegance. One of the most distinctive features of the bridge is its glass deck, made of translucent, non-slip glass panels that allow sunlight to penetrate the water below, thus preserving the natural habitat of the river.

The bridge's design also incorporates a functional sundial, which is the largest gnomon-style sundial in the world. The shadow cast by the pylon on a large sundial plate on the north bank of the river indicates the time accurately during the summer solstice. However, due to the pylon's angle and the Earth's rotation, the sundial is not precise throughout the year but remains an awe-inspiring feature that adds to the bridge's charm.

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Ecological Considerations

The Redding Sundial Bridge was designed with the utmost attention to the environment and the local ecosystem. As a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge, it promotes alternative modes of transportation, reducing the carbon footprint. The use of a glass deck and the absence of riverbed supports ensure that the bridge does not obstruct the river's natural flow or disrupt the salmon spawning grounds below.

The bridge also serves as a gateway to the extensive Sacramento River Trail system, which covers over 35 miles of scenic pathways along the riverbanks. These trails provide ample opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts to explore the area's natural beauty while contributing to the preservation of the local flora and fauna.

The Sundial Bridge is a standout landmark in the city of Redding.

Cultural and Economic Impact

Since its opening, the Redding Sundial Bridge has become an emblem of the city's commitment to art, culture, and environmental stewardship. The bridge has garnered international recognition for its unique design and has attracted visitors from around the world, boosting local tourism and the economy. The bridge also serves as a venue for community events, including concerts, art exhibitions, and outdoor festivals, fostering a sense of civic pride and togetherness among Redding residents.

The Redding Sundial Bridge, with its innovative design and sensitivity to the environment, has become a symbol of the fusion between art, engineering, and ecology. As a functional pedestrian crossing and an internationally acclaimed architectural wonder, the bridge not only connects the two sides of the Turtle Bay Exploration Park but also the hearts of those who visit this remarkable landmark. In a world where

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