The I Street Bridge will close down to cars from 7 to 9 p.m. on March 23 to host its first-ever lantern festival. Attendees of all ages are invited to stroll across the bridge and enjoy its luminous transformation.
The free festival is designed to encourage the community to re-imagine the upper deck of the current I Street Bridge as an interactive public space. The cities of Sacramento and West Sacramento have received a grant to study the possibility of transforming the upper deck of the bridge to specifically serve pedestrians and cyclists.
“The I Street Bridge has been a workhorse for our two cities for more than a century,” said Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Now we have the opportunity to turn it into a modern amenity where people can enjoy and interact with the Sacramento River rather than just crossing it in their cars. I’m excited to see the ideas that our community comes up with for the bridge’s next phase.”
Community members will have the opportunity to provide their input on the future amenities, ramps, and river plaza on the existing I Street Bridge’s upper deck.
“This is a once every 100 years opportunity for the two cities to design and construct a new river crossing,” said West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon. “We look forward to hearing new ideas focused on the bike and pedestrian experience.”
The festival’s official “walk” is scheduled to begin at the 201 C Street West Sacramento Parking Lot, located at the base of the I Street Bridge, at 7:30 p.m. Parking is available on the street and in the Ziggurat Garage after 6 p.m.
The first 200 community members to arrive between 6 and 7 p.m. will have the opportunity to decorate an LED lantern to carry during the lantern walk. Earlier this month, more than 250 people attended two lantern creation workshops in preparation for the festival. The workshops were led by artists Robin Hill and Robert Ortbal, faculty members at UC Davis and Sacramento State.
The existing I Street Bridge, built in 1912, provides a critical railroad line for regional and national goods movement. The planned new I Street Bridge — which will allow vehicles, bikes, and pedestrians — will be located upstream of the existing I Street Bridge, crossing the Sacramento River between the Sacramento Railyards and West Sacramento’s Washington District. The new bridge is expected to be completed in 2022.
The old I Street Bridge will continue to be used by trains, and the feasibility study will explore the possibility of converting the upper deck for safe, ADA compliant bike/ped/scooter friendly paths with an elevated plaza overlooking the river.