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Happy 50th: Cities celebrate opening of San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge

Posted: 3:16 PM, Jul 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-01 12:12:22-04
Bike over the Coronado Bay Bridge

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Saturday, Aug. 3, will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge.

A free concert will be hosted at 6:30 p.m. at the Coronado Golf Course, featuring the local band "Ron's Garage." The celebration is hosted by the City of Coronado, Port of San Diego, County of San Diego, and state Department of Transportation.

Activities for kids, a VW bus-themed photo booth, and food and drinks will also be available.

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The $50 million bridge opened to the public Aug. 3, 1969, stretching 2.12 miles to the Barrio Logan neighborhood from the blooming resort town. Construction began in February 1967 and two years later, then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan ushered in the iconic structure as the first person to cross over it.

Instantly, it changed how San Diegans commuted, mostly replacing ferry service used to cross San Diego Bay for 83 years.

The bridge's iconic curve across the bay reaches 200 feet at its highest point, allowing an aircraft carrier to pass underneath its five lanes.

Just a few years after the bridge debuted, the Coronado Cays, Coronado Hospital, and Coronado Shores condo community opened and Richard Nixon hosted the first state dinner held outside of the White House at Hotel del Coronado.

Not only was the bridge a vital asset to the military facilities on Coronado but also the residents -- on and off the island.

Coronado City Councilman Bill Sandke said, “This bridge is an icon around San Diego. There’s no way around it.”

Port of San Diego officials say the bridge has made it easier to connect the five cities around San Diego Bay.

The Port has plans to install color-changing LED lights on the bridge within the next two years, adding to its iconic nature.

“Certainly red, white and blue for the Fourth of July. Wouldn’t it be great to welcome Navy ships home at night with a display for them? Could be pink for cancer awareness. It could be Padres colors when they win the World Series,” Port of San Diego Commissioner Marshall Merrifield said.