Watercolor… the 336 foot long, Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge was completed in 1915, following the Old Spanish Trail Highway, connecting between Yuma, Arizona and California and was the first highway bridge to span the Colorado River… and in reality… connecting highways from New York and Florida on the east coast with San Diego and San Francisco on the west coast. The Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) built the first rail crossing at Yuma as a pivot swing bridge in 1877, located where present-day, Madison Avenue meets the river. Ultimately, Southern Pacific replaced that original wooden bridge three times.
Illustrated… in the foreground… Union Pacific (UP) GE C45ACCTE #5424 leads a container train over the fourth and current railroad bridge across the river, a steel through truss structure that was completed in 1899. This bridge was moved to its present alignment in 1923 and now sits side-by-side with the iconic 1915 steel, Ocean-to-Ocean vehicular/ pedestrian bridge. On the California side of the Colorado River in Winterhaven, sits the historic 1923 Saint Thomas Yuma Indian Mission… on the site of the former 1780 Purisima Concepcion Mission. The Union Pacific Railroad absorbed the Southern Pacific in 1966 and the Ocean-to-Ocean Highway Bridge was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 as the “Yuma Crossing”.