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The Astoria-Megler Bridge, Astoria, Oregon, USA

August 5th, 2008 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

The Astoria-Megler Bridge is a continuous truss bridge that spans the mouth of the Columbia River between Astoria, Oregon and Point Ellice near Megler, Washington, in the United States. The span was the last segment of U.S. Route 101 between Olympia, Washington and Los Angeles, California. It is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.

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 an hour travel time caused delays. In order to allow faster and more reliable crossings at the mouth of the river, a bridge was planned. The bridge was built jointly by the Oregon Department of Transportation and Washington Department of Transportation.

Construction on the structure began on November 5, 1962. The concrete piers were cast at Tongue Point, 4 miles (6 km) upriver. The steel structure was built in segments at Vancouver, Washington, 90 miles (145 km) upriver, then barged downstream where hydraulic jacks lifted them into place. On August 27, 1966, with more than 30,000 people in attendance, Governors Mark Hatfield of Oregon and Dan Evans of Washington opened the bridge by cutting a ceremonial ribbon. The cost of the project was $24 million and was paid for by tolls that were removed on December 24, 1993.

The bridge is 21,474 ft (6,545 m) in length and carries one lane of traffic in each direction. The main span is closest to the Oregon side and measures 1,232 feet long. The bridge was built to withstand 150 mph (240 km/h) wind gusts and river speeds of 9 mph (14 km/h). As of 2004, an average of 7,100 vehicles per day use the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Designed by William A. Bugee, construction of the cantilever truss bridge was completed by the DeLong Corporation, the American Bridge Company, and Pomeroy Gerwick.

Pedestrians are prohibited from the bridge except during the annual bridge walk called the "Great Columbia Crossing". Bicycles are permitted on the bridge in both Oregon and Washington.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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