The Astoria–Megler Bridge is a steel cantilever through truss bridge in the northwest United States that spans the lower Columbia River, between Astoria, Oregon, and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington. Opened 57 years ago, 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 4.067 miles (6.55 km) in length, and was the final segment of U.S. Route 101 to be completed between Olympia, Washington, and Los Angeles, California.
Ferry service between Astoria and the Washington side of the Columbia River began in 1926. The Oregon Department of Transportation purchased the ferry service in 1946. 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.
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. 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. 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. The cost of the project was $24 million, equivalent to $155 million in 2021 dollars, and was paid for by tolls that were removed on December 24, 1993, more than two years early.