With its easy access, impressive architecture, and ocean views, Bixby Bridge is one of the most visited places along the Big Sur coastline. Visitors can park on the north side of this landmark and enjoy its beauty from the road across the highway or from the parking area. As a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge, it ranks as one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world.
Construction of this 714-foot-long, 280-foot-high bridge took just under 14 months. The materials required reached 45,000 sacks of cement and 600,000 pounds of steel. Bixby Bridge was opened on November 27, 1932, for public traffic. In 1966 the bridge was seismically retrofitted to make the structure safer and stronger.
Like many areas in Big Sur, this icon was named for a pioneer of the area, Charles Henry Bixby. Charles purchased land in the Big Sur area in 1868. During his life he farmed for timber and tan bark, shipping the materials to San Francisco. Bixby himself was responsible for building the wagon road that led from the Carmel mission to his homestead at Bixby Landing. Eventually Charles Bixby became too old to farm any longer and he sold his 1,100 acres to the Monterey Lime Company.
Before the final opening of Bixby Bridge, residents of and visitors to Big Sur had to travel 11 miles inland to travel over Bixby Creek and continue south. The trip from Carmel could take three days or more in good weather. Road frequently became impassible in winter and were closed, isolating Big Sur except from all but boat access.