Vincent Thomas Bridge

Photo courtesy of Tucker Axum III


Some Facts About the Vincent Thomas Bridge
(between Terminal Island & San Pedro)

Type: Suspension
Opened: November 15, 1963
Cost: $21 million
Length: 6,050 feet (1.1 miles)
Main suspension span: 1,500 feet
Spans on both sides: 500 feet each
Height of Towers: 365 feet
Vertical Clearance: 185 ft.
Designed to withstand 90 mph winds (double code requirements)
Daily Vehicle Traffic: Average 20,000 daily

Construction of the bridge required:

92,000 tons of Portland cement
13,000 tons of lightweight concrete
14,100 tons of steel
1,270 tons of suspension cable


The main span of the Vincent Thomas Bridge is 1,500 feet long as compared to the Golden Gate Bridge at 4,200 feet long.


Vincent Thomas Bridge is named for Vincent Thomas, former California Assemblyman, Democrat, 52nd District, San Pedro. Thomas moved to San Pedro from Oakland in 1919. In 1928, he graduated from San Pedro High School. He received a Bachelor Degree from the University of Santa Clara in 1932 and attended the University of Santa Clara and Loyola Law Schools from 1932 to 1936. He worked as a minor sports coach and PE instructor while in college. He also played football for Santa Clara. He was married and had a daughter and son. He was elected to the California Assembly in 1940. In 1962, he was elevated to Dean of the Assembly. He also served as Chairman of the Committee on Intergovernmental Relations. He was still in the Assembly when his namesake bridge opened in 1963. He was the individual most responsible for its realization. He served in the Assembly at least through 1975.


Before the Vincent Thomas Bridge came to be, Terminal Island was reached by ferry from San Pedro. Boys were known to swim across the channel to the island in order to avoid paying the five-cent fare. They entrusted their clothes to one of their number who actually boarded the ferry.