Snake River Bridge

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Snake River Bridge
Snake River Bridge WA.jpg
Carries SR 261
Crosses Snake River
Locale near Starbuck, Washington
Maintained by WSDOT
Design Cantilever bridge
Total length 2040 ft (618 m)
Construction begin 1926
Construction end 1927
Opened 1968 (at current location)
Coordinates 46°35′22.88″N 118°13′9.89″W / 46.5896889°N 118.2194139°W / 46.5896889; -118.2194139Coordinates: 46°35′22.88″N 118°13′9.89″W / 46.5896889°N 118.2194139°W / 46.5896889; -118.2194139

The Snake River Bridge (also known as the Lyons Ferry Bridge), located on State Route 261 at the confluence of the Snake and Palouse Rivers, near Starbuck, Washington, USA, is the oldest extant steel cantilever bridge in Washington.[1] The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (reference number 82004207)[2] and is located next to Lyons Ferry Park. It measures 1,500 feet long and is 486 feet above the Snake River.[3]

Original construction[edit]

It was originally constructed in 1927 and known as the Vantage Ferry Bridge, where it carried the North Central Highway over the Columbia River in Vantage, replacing a four-car ferry. By 1923, the ferry was transporting 50,000 people across the river annually,[4] and it was clear that a bridge was needed to replace it. Originally planned to be a privately constructed toll bridge, it was strongly opposed by Washington Governor Louis F. Hart because it would be a toll bridge on a taxpayer-supported highway. Not only that, but the state also stood to lose $900,000 in federal funds for the North Central Highway if a toll bridge were to be built. Instead, the state approved funding for its own bridge.[4]

However, the construction of the Wanapum Dam downriver of the bridge in the 1960s flooded the town of Vantage, and state officials decided to replace the existing two-lane bridge, which had become unsafe for high volume traffic, with a new four-lane bridge. The old bridge was dismantled and put into storage.[5]

Meanwhile, at Lyons Ferry, crossings of the Snake River were done by ferry, but the construction of the Lower Monumental Dam caused the river to slow, thus increasing crossing time. State officials then decided to reconstruct this bridge at that location.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Historic Bridges". Washington State Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007-08-10. 
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15. 
  3. ^ "Idaho Adventures in Living". Retrieved 4 November 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Snake River Bridge at Lyons' Ferry, State Route 261 spanning Snake River, Starbuck vicinity, Columbia County, WA". Historic American Engineering Record. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-08-10.