Vincent Thomas Bridge
The Vincent Thomas Bridge is a 1,500-foot long suspension bridge crossing the Los Angeles Harbor linking San Pedro, California with Terminal Island. The bridge is signed as part of California State Highway 47. It is named for California Assemblyman Vincent Thomas of San Pedro. 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 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.
When the bridge opened in 1963, the toll was 25 cents in each direction. In 1983, the toll increased to 50 cents for westbound traffic but became free for eastbound traffic. In 2000, tolls were discontinued, and thus the Vincent Thomas Bridge became the second to last remaining toll bridge in Southern California. After the San Diego-Coronado Bridge in San Diego stopped collecting tolls in 2002, the California Department of Transportation was able to devolve authority over toll bridges to the Bay Area Toll Authority in June 2005.
The bridge had a featured role in the film Head, featuring rock group The Monkees, released in 1968. The first scene of the film features a dedication ceremony for the bridge, which is interrupted by the group members, who commit suicide by running into the middle of the ceremony and jumping off the bridge. The bridge is also featured in the climax of the movie Gone in Sixty Seconds, starring Nicolas Cage, and in a scene of the 2000 movie Charlie’s Angels where Cameron Diaz and Crispin Glover face off in two race cars.