Astoria–Megler Bridge

The Astoria–Megler Bridge is a steel cantilever through-truss bridge in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States that spans the lower Columbia River. It carries a section of U.S. Route 101 from Astoria, Oregon, to Point Ellice near Megler, Washington. Opened in 1966, it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.

The bridge is 14 miles (23 km) from the mouth of the river at the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is four miles (6.5 km) in length, and was the final segment of U.S. Route 101 to be completed between Olympia, Washington, and Los Angeles, California.

 Tourist No. 2, a ferry built in 1924, replaced by Tourist III in 1931

Ferry service between Astoria and the Washington side of the Columbia River began in 1926.[1] The Oregon Department of Transportation purchased the ferry service in 1946.[2] This ferry service did not operate during inclement weather and the half-hour travel time caused delays. In order to allow faster and more reliable crossings near the mouth of the river, a bridge was planned. The bridge was built jointly by the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington State Department of Transportation.[3][4] Following construction, the Oregon Department of Transportation became the lead agency responsible for maintenance and operating the structure.[5]

Construction on the structure began on November 5, 1962, and the concrete piers were cast at Tongue Point, four miles (6.5 km) upriver. The steel structure was built in segments at Vancouver, Washington, ninety miles (140 km) upriver, then barged downstream where hydraulic jacks lifted them into place.[6] The bridge opened to traffic on July 29, 1966, marking the completion of U.S. Route 101 and becoming the seventh major bridge built by Oregon in the 1950s–1960s; ferry service ended the night before.[7] On August 27, 1966, Governors Mark Hatfield of Oregon and Dan Evans of Washington dedicated the bridge by cutting a ceremonial ribbon. The four-day ceremony was celebrated by 30,000 attendees who participated in parades, drives, and a marathon boat race from Portland to Astoria.[8] The cost of the project was $24 million, equivalent to $166 million in 2022 dollars, and was paid for by tolls that were removed on December 24, 1993, more than two years early.[9]

^ Astoria–Megler Bridge. Archived June 11, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Astoria & Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved on May 14, 2008. ^ Vickers, Marques (2018). The Coastal River Bridges of Oregon. Marquis Publishing. p. 12. ^ Smith, Dwight A.; Norman, James B.; Dykman, Pieter T. (1989). Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon. Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 299. ISBN 0-87595-205-4. ^ Jones, Dave (October 12, 2023). "Destination Oregon: Construction and impact of the Astoria-Megler bridge". Central Oregon Daily. Retrieved January 22, 2024. ^ "Asset Management: Bridge Assessment Annual Report" (PDF). The Gray Notebook. Washington State Department of Transportation (34): 19. August 20, 2009. Retrieved January 22, 2024. ^ "Last link". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). (AP wirephoto). December 10, 1965. p. 1. ^ "Astoria Bridge Over Columbia in Service". Statesman Journal. July 30, 1966. p. 3. Retrieved June 23, 2018 – via Newspapers.com. ^ "Two Governors Officiate At Astoria Bridge Dedication". The Oregonian. August 28, 1966. p. 1. ^ Cite error: The named reference places was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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