One of the more unique items to be found out in the east county of San Diego is a bridge that is not connected to a road, and at times, does not cross water. The Sweetwater Bridge was built in 1929 to bridge the Sweetwater River, and at the time connected both ends of Highway 94. While it may appear imposing at four hundred and sixty feet in length, and twenty-two feet in width, it was in actuality, a narrow bridge in 1929, and a narrow bridge through its eventual retirement in 1987. In 1987, the road was re-routed slightly and a new, modern bridge was built right next to it on Highway 94.
Even though the 1929 Sweetwater Bridge was replaced, it was left in place as it was – and is a historic relic, as it is a Parker Truss bridge. Parker Truss bridges are unique, as they represent a style of construction that, while popular in the early 1900’s, is not used in the modern day. In particular, this style of construction features pre-made parts that were assembled on site. The Sweetwater Bridge is on the National Register of Historic places; and even more notably today, is the gateway to the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, which contains miles of hiking and biking trails.
Directions: The Sweetwater River Bridge can be found directly off of Singer Lane, which intersects with Highway 94 in Rancho San Diego. There is a small parking area for the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge near the bridge.
Tips: Both the bridge, and the wildlife refuge are popular areas for hikers, joggers, and bikers during weekdays and weekends, and as such, the parking area is full on a regular basis. While the Sweetwater River does still flow under the bridge, during the hot summer months, the flow is not evident, and at times, may disappear. The bridge is also a popular spot for both amateur and professional photographers year round.