Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge celebrates 15 years

It has been 15 years since the Alfred Zampa Memorial bridge opened to westbound traffic on Interstate 80 between Vallejo and Crockett, replacing the original 1927 Carquinez Bridge that got Zampa his start as a bridge builder.

Alfred Zampa was a blue-collar ironworker that worked on bridges in California, Arizona and Texas. In the 1930’s he worked on the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge. Bridge building in those days was famously fatal, as Zampa told the San Francisco Chronicle in 1986: “Anytime someone got killed on the job, we’d go jittery and go home for the day. We’d wonder, is it our turn next? If we got hurt, we couldn’t get no insurance, no welfare or nothing, until the union came up. I don’t know where I’d be without the union.”

In October of 1936 Zampa fell from the Golden Gate Bridge and lived to the tell the story. He slipped on a wet piece of iron, flipped backwards three times and hit the safety net, but it was loose and Zampa crashed into the rocky Marin County shore. After a long recovery he went back to work on Bay Area bridges and construction projects.

His work, larger than life personality and the fall made him a minor celebrity, but he was a working class man with modest means, the son of immigrants.

The Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge is the only bridge in the U.S. named for a blue-collar worker. It represents the men and women of all building and construction trades who work on and build these projects which become monuments for generations to see and visit.

Hovering above the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge

Here’s some beautiful aerial footage of the bridge that was recently shot.

2015 Crab Feed Cancelled

The 10th Annual ALFRED ZAMPA MEMORIAL CRAB FEED FOR THIS YEAR, 2015, has been cancelled due to the toxin scare in Dungeness crab.

Your refunds will be in the mail as quickly as we can process them.

Thank you for your patience.

– Dick Zampa

Flashback: Al Zampa on Charles Kuralt

Charles Kuralt takes a look at people who build things, including an interview with Alfred Zampa on the 50th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge.

KGO features Zampa family

KGO TV had a really nice piece on Al Zampa and the generations of Zampa ironworkers that have come after him.

Dick Zampa on KGO TV

They’re the first family of Bay Area bridge builders. Claiming four generations, the Zampa’s have been watching the transition from the old to new Bay Bridge as closely as anyone. The family has come full circle. Late patriarch Alfred Zampa was an ironworker on the bridges in the 1920s, while his great grandson worked on the new Bay Bridge.

Here’s a link to the video:

Walk of Honor 2013

The annual Walk of Honor for veterans is happening on Saturday, May 18, 2011 on the Al Zampa Memorial Bridge. This is a walk honoring ALL military veterans, an opportunity to say “Thank You” for their service to our country so that we may enjoy our freedom. Check out the website for more details.

Zampa family featured for 75th anniversary of Golden Gate Bridge

This week, ABC 7’s Heather Ishimaru has been telling the stories of the 75th anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge. As a part of her coverage, she has featured the Zampa family in two stories.

On May 21, the story centered on the Gladiator Women Program, which was designed and implemented by Dick Zampa Jr., Al Zampa’s grandson. It featured the Field Ironworkers Apprenticeship and Training Center and the women in the program.

Here’s a link: Women joining the ranks of ironworkers

On May 22, the story was on the bridge builders themselves. This story included a classic clip of Al Zampa himself in 1987.

Here’s a link: Bridge builders remembered on Golden Gate anniversary

Hanging Iron and Halfway to Hell on sale

The Labor Video Project has created a special deal on two classic videos about Ironworkers.

“Halfway To Hell – The Workers & Unions That Built The Golden Gate Bridge” and “Hanging Iron, After The Quake of ’89” have been combined onto one DVD for Ironworkers and Building Trades Workers in a special offer for $15.00 (S&H included). For 5 or more copies $10.00 each. Here’s the order form.

Part of the proceeds will go to the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge Foundation.

Hanging Iron is also available to watch online on

A new look

Welcome to the new web site. We’ve cleaned out some cobwebs and rearranged the furniture. If you’re looking for info on Al, click on “The Man”, to see pictures of the bridge, click on “The Bridge”, if you want to learn about the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge Foundation, click on “The Foundation”. Click around and you’ll catch on quick.

Here’s what we used to look like:

Al Zampa bridge original site