Car on the new La Rue Bridge
There’s more to see on the sides and underneath the new La Rue Road bridge. (Anjie Cook/UC Davis)

Written by Dave Jones. Originally published in Dateline.

Driving over the new La Rue Road bridge, you will see the wider sidewalks and new bike lanes, and, on each side of the bridge, a safety barrier between the sidewalk and bike lane.

But there’s something else about this span over the Arboretum Waterway, something to experience under the bridge when you’re walking or biking alongside the waterway.

View underneath the new La Rue Bridge
Paths under the bridge have been regraded to provide more headroom for walkers and bicyclists. (Anjie Cook/UC Davis)

You won’t need to duck your head anymore! That’s right: In replacing the 70-year-old bridge, the campus regraded the paths underneath, lowering them to provide more headroom.

That’s not all you will notice from below: Take a look at the decorative arches on both sides of the bridge. Beautiful!

Side view of the new La Rue Bridge, showing a decorative arch
Decorative steel highlights the arch of the new bridge, in an homage to an older bridge at the east end of the Arboretum Waterway. (Anjie Cook/UC Davis)

Christina De Martini Reyes, campus landscape architect, designed the decorative arches as an homage to an older bridge near the east end of the waterway, east of Old Davis Road.

“I felt it was very important to address the view of the [new] bridge from the Arboretum paths — to make the bridge a destination of sorts,” Reyes told Dateline UC Davis in February 2019. “People strolling through the arboretum are having a slower, meandering experience than those using the bridge itself — and crossing under a bridge is a huge experiential moment. The lead-up to that is an opportunity to take advantage of.”

The bridge project also improved upon the steep ramps down and up from the paths along the waterway. Two ramps are now universally accessible, and the other two — which had been the steepest — have been converted to staircases.