A Torrance Icon Day and Night

The Torrance City Council presented a Proclamation to those involved in rehabilitating the bridge.  Pictured from left, front row:  Jamie Ruth Watson (President, Torrance Historical Society), Shane Swerdlow (Associate, Chattel, Inc.), Pat Furey (Mayor, City of Torrance), Elizabeth Overstreet (Engineering Manager, City of Torrance, Department of Public Works), and Andy Perez (Director, Port Affairs, Union Pacific Railroad).

The Torrance City Council presented a Proclamation to those involved in rehabilitating the bridge.  Pictured from left, front row:  Jamie Ruth Watson (President, Torrance Historical Society), Shane Swerdlow (Associate, Chattel, Inc.), Pat Furey (Mayor, City of Torrance), Elizabeth Overstreet (Engineering Manager, City of Torrance, Department of Public Works), and Andy Perez (Director, Port Affairs, Union Pacific Railroad).

On December 2, 2014, the Torrance City Council kicked off its weekly meeting with an official lighting ceremony for the 1913, Irving Gill-designed Pacific Electric Railway - El Prado Bridge. Chattel Associate Shane Swerdlow spoke at the event, accepting a Proclamation from the City Council on behalf of the team involved in the bridge’s rehabilitation. Watch the Proclamation presentation and lighting ceremony.

Torrance Historical Society members gathered at the bridge while Mayor Pat Furey flipped a switch at City Council Chambers to officially illuminate the structure (source of photo: Torrance CitiCABLE 3)

Torrance Historical Society members gathered at the bridge while Mayor Pat Furey flipped a switch at City Council Chambers to officially illuminate the structure (source of photo: Torrance CitiCABLE 3)

Chattel worked with structural engineer Krakower & Associates, concrete specialist Preservation Arts, and City of Torrance, Department of Public Works to develop a project that brought back the modern elegance of the arched, reinforced concrete bridge, which had suffered years of deferred maintenance. Work included removing paint, graffiti, and dense vines, patching damaged concrete, reconstructing wood guardrails, and adding clear anti-graffiti coating. Chattel also consulted with the Torrance Historical Society to come up with the official Pacific Electric Railway – El Prado Bridge name approved by the Torrance City Council—the structure was previously called “the bridge” and several other colloquial names. Read more about Chattel’s presentation to the City Council on the bridge’s name in the Torrance Tribune. Chattel also worked with City staff to develop the new lighting scheme, which consists of in-ground uplights accentuating the iconic arches.

Chattel worked with City staff to develop the new lighting scheme.  Pictured here is Lea Reis (Associate Engineer, City of Torrance, Department of Public Works) with a sample in-ground uplight.

Chattel worked with City staff to develop the new lighting scheme.  Pictured here is Lea Reis (Associate Engineer, City of Torrance, Department of Public Works) with a sample in-ground uplight.

Built in 1913 by the Pacific Electric Railway, the bridge originally served trains passing over tracks used by southern California's famous Red Cars. It is one of the first bridges to use arches purely for decoration, disguising an otherwise simple structure of concrete girders and beams. Southern Pacific Railroad later took over ownership of the bridge and donated it to the City of Torrance in 1986. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989. At a 100th birthday celebration on May 23rd, 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers presented a plaque commemorating the bridge as a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark, joining the ranks of the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges. Today, it serves as Torrance’s eastern gateway and an icon of civic identity, prominently featured in logos and seals of City departments and organizations.

From top: bridge in 1913, soon after construction (Torrance Historical Society); 2012, before rehabilitation; 2013, after rehabilitation; and 2014, during lighting ceremony.

From top: bridge in 1913, soon after construction (Torrance Historical Society); 2012, before rehabilitation; 2013, after rehabilitation; and 2014, during lighting ceremony.