The bridge was opened to traffic on November 2, 1971 and was constructed by Peter Kiewit & Sons, who won the contract with a bid of $4,356,070 (equivalent to about $29,242,000 in 2013). The bridge was part of a 2.8-mile (4.5 km) long, $1.7 million (equivalent to $11 million in 2013) segment of the Interstate 82 freeway construction through the area.
At the time it was built, it was the longest concrete arch bridge in the United States, surpassed only by the 866-foot (264 m) Sandö Bridge in Sweden. It was also the highest bridge in Washington. It won the 1971 Grand Award "for excellence in the use of concrete", awarded by the Washington Aggregates and Concrete Association.