Skip to main content

Lakehead's New Antlers Bridge Gets Artsy

03/24/2016 11:00AM ● Published by Laura Christman

Gallery: Lake head's New Ant [2 Images] Click any image to expand.

Fish Hooked

April 2016

Story by Laura Christman

How about this fish story? Twenty-five-foot largemouth bass spotted at Shasta Lake.

It’s not a stretch—it’s art. A design featuring two colorful concrete bass leaping at minnows is repeated four times on the new Antlers Bridge under construction on Interstate 5 about 25 miles north of Redding.

If you want to catch it, look fast. There’s an eye-level view of the lunkers—one measuring 25 feet and the other stretching 16 feet—from the current Antlers Bridge spanning the lake’s Sacramento Arm at Lakehead. When traffic switches to the new bridge, which is expected to happen in late summer or fall, the I-5 blur-by will no longer be a viewing option.

Eric Akana, project manager with the state Department of Transportation in Redding, says the largemouth bass were never intended to be a roadside attraction. “Drivers need to keep their eyes on the road,” he says.

The artwork is 150 feet above the lake bottom, or 65 feet from the surface of a full Shasta Lake (let’s hope that happens). After the old bridge, built in 1941, is demolished, the best places to angle for a view will be from the shoreline or boat. 

Why fish on a bridge?

A bridge is all about function, but it also needs a sense of place and grace. That’s Caltrans’ philosophy. The agency incorporates aesthetic elements into projects. They might take the form of the bridge’s actual form or be flourishes, colors and textures. 

“These bridges are there for a long time and we want them to blend in and complement the area,” Akana says.

“The idea is to give it more of an artistic feel, as opposed to a big chunk of concrete,” says Stephan Heath, bridge architectural associate with Caltrans in Redding.

Tutor-Saliba Corporation is contractor for the $125 million bridge replacement. Akana says about 1 percent of a project’s budget can be for architectural/aesthetic features. With the Antlers Bridge it’s about 0.2 percent—or $250,000.

It isn’t common for Caltrans to feature an animal design, but largemouth bass seemed a good choice for Antlers Bridge because of their link to the lake, Heath says. The idea began with senior bridge architect Javier Chavez in the Caltrans Sacramento office (since retired), and became a collaborative effort with others in the architecture unit and district office.

“We found different shapes and sizes of fish and played around with the scale and colors and settled on a design we liked,” Heath says.

Turning fish on paper into something concrete was complicated. The massive fish first were carved in foam, with plenty of back and forth to get eye sockets and other details just right. The foam sculptures then were used to make rubber molds for the concrete.

“It’s similar to forming a sidewalk. It’s made in several sections that are put together like puzzle pieces,” Akana explains.

Once the fish in a relief were on the bridge, it was time to bring in the colorists. Jim Currie of Currie’s Quality Painting in Redding and Jerry Stuart of Jerry Stuart Painting Company practiced on a ground-level mockup before stepping into the small basket of a hydraulic lift to color the bridge fish. They used stain, which permeates the concrete and will hold up better than paint to winter rains and searing summer sun in the canyon. Currie and Stuart applied the stain mostly with sprayers. 

There was much taping to be done to protect from overspray. Currie, a longtime fisherman, wanted the colors to be realistic, not cartoonish. Hues were meticulously blended and multiple coats applied.

“You have to keep building it to get what you need. There’s a lot to it,” Currie says.

“It’s like doing translucent glazes over the top of each other to get depth and perspective,” explains Stuart, who has an art background.

Each panel took a week or so. Work days were eight to 10 hours. It was highly challenging – as in being way off the ground.

“The first day we were up there it was kind of like the first time on top of a Ferris wheel and you are stuck,” Stuart recalls.

But they focused on the task. The real challenge was working so close on something so large. They took breaks, getting off the lift to gain perspective.

The painters also did the faux stonework on the bridge abutments. They had to be sure their work didn’t get in the way of the bridge builders. “A big operation like that is extremely impressive,” Currie says.

It was rewarding to be part of the project and see the results, he says. “Never in my 59 years have I had that much fun on a job.”  

In Print, Today, Arts+Entertainment Lakehead's New Antlers Bridge Gets Artsy Fish Hooked Laura Christman Eric Akana Department of Transportation in Redding Caltrans Javier Chavez Jim Currie Jerry Stuart Jerry Stuart Painting Company
  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewery 5th Anniversary Party

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM — 09:00PM

    Wildcard Brewing Company is excited to announce the 5th Anniversary Party on Friday, November 24,...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    11/24/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • The Redwoods Christmas Boutique

    11/25/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Honestly, Santa's getting older and he can't keep doing that last minute stuff! Come on down to ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • REDDING RANCHERIA

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 IN THE WIN RIVER EVENT CENTER FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M. FOR INF...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    11/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/26/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • North State Giving Tuesday

    11/28/2017
    06:00AM — 08:00PM

    Each year at Thanksgiving and the week following, we have a day for giving thanks, two days for g...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Winter Concert

    11/28/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Enterprise High Music Department will be preforming several different song both from choir an...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/23/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/24/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewery 5th Anniversary Party

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM — 09:00PM

    Wildcard Brewing Company is excited to announce the 5th Anniversary Party on Friday, November 24,...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    11/24/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/24/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • The Redwoods Christmas Boutique

    11/25/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    Honestly, Santa's getting older and he can't keep doing that last minute stuff! Come on down to ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/25/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • REDDING RANCHERIA

    11/25/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2017 IN THE WIN RIVER EVENT CENTER FROM 10:00 A.M. TO 4:00 P.M. FOR INF...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    11/25/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/25/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/26/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Cascade Christmas

    11/26/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/27/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • North State Giving Tuesday

    11/28/2017
    06:00AM — 08:00PM

    Each year at Thanksgiving and the week following, we have a day for giving thanks, two days for g...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/28/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Winter Concert

    11/28/2017
    07:00PM — 09:00PM

    The Enterprise High Music Department will be preforming several different song both from choir an...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/29/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    11/29/2017
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    11/30/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/01/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Button, Zip & Snap Event

    12/01/2017
    10:00AM — 06:00PM

    12/01/17 10 am – 6 pm 12/02/17 10 am – 5 pm 2961 Churn Creek Rd, Redding, CA 96002 530-221-3970...


  • Strikes for Strays

    12/01/2017
    04:00PM — 09:00PM

    JOIN US AT STRIKES for STRAYS!!! ... Let’s ALL be a reason for the season!!! STRIKES for STRA...


  • World AIDS day

    12/01/2017
    04:00PM — 06:30AM

    December 1st is World AIDS Day. Join us in the Downtown Promenade for free HIV testing, informati...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    12/01/2017
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • First Friday on Main

    12/01/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Join us at Enjoy the Store Red Bluff, home to Cedar Crest Brewing and Vineyard, for live music, f...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/01/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Whitmore Christmas Bazaar

    12/02/2017
    08:00AM — 03:00PM

    The Whitmore Volunteer Fire Company, Inc. invites you to the annual CHRISTMAS BAZAAR on December ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/02/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Start Up Saturdays | Winter Market

    12/02/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Easily shop local this Holiday season at the Start Up Saturdays Winter Vendor Market where local ...


  • On Saturday December 2nd from 10AM-1PM, The Friends of the Shasta County Libraries will sell gent...


  • Button, Zip & Snap Event

    12/02/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    12/01/17 10 am – 6 pm 12/02/17 10 am – 5 pm 2961 Churn Creek Rd, Redding, CA 96002 530-221-3970...


  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area and Shasta State Historic Park Partner for the Annual “Old T...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/02/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • A Celebration of Music

    12/02/2017
    04:00PM — 06:00PM

    On Saturday, December 2nd Dunsmuir will be celebrating the beginning of the holiday season with a...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    12/02/2017
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/02/2017
    07:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    12/03/2017
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    12/03/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Cascade Christmas

    12/03/2017
    02:00PM

    Produced & Directed by Jana Pulcini-Leard Redding’s holiday tradition returns with an all new ...


Enter to Win!

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living
Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors