Umatilla Bridge

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Umatilla Bridge
Umatilla Bridges.jpg
The older bridge is visible in the foreground
Official name Interstate 82 Columbia River Bridge
Carries I-82 / US 395
Crosses Columbia River
Locale Benton County, WashingtonUmatilla County, Oregon
Design Through truss cantilever bridge (old)
Arch bridge (new)
Material Steel (old)
Concrete (new)
Total length 3,308 ft (1,008.3 m) (old)
3,433 ft (1,046.4 m) (new)
Width 27.58 ft (8.4 m) (old)
Longest span 600 ft (182.9 m) (old)
Number of spans 5 (old)
2 (new)
Vertical clearance 16 ft (4.9 m) (old)
Clearance below 85 ft (25.9 m) (old)
80 ft (24.4 m) (new)
Opened 1955 (old)
1988 (new)
Daily traffic 8,150 (2004)
Coordinates 45°55′36″N 119°19′34″W / 45.92667°N 119.32611°W / 45.92667; -119.32611Coordinates: 45°55′36″N 119°19′34″W / 45.92667°N 119.32611°W / 45.92667; -119.32611

The Umatilla Bridge is the collective name for a pair of bridges carrying Interstate 82/U.S. Route 395 across the Columbia River at the Washington State/Oregon border. The older bridge is a steel through truss cantilever bridge and only carries southbound traffic, with northbound traffic going on the newer bridge, a concrete arch bridge.


The old bridge was proposed by Umatilla County judge James H. Sturgis and known as "Sturgis' folly" initially. The construction upstream of McNary Dam would create Lake Wallula and submerge the old Wallula Highway. In the interim, traffic was carried across the newly formed lake via ferry service, with 178,576 vehicles transported in 1951.[1] The bridge was financed by $10 million worth of bonds and operated as a toll bridge until 1974, when the bonds were fully repaid.[2]

It is a five-span continuous Warren through truss design. The configuration of the span is unusual in the fact that it takes advantage of a submerged island near the middle of the Columbia River. With its two 600-foot spans, each constructed using the cantilever method, this is the only bridge in the state having two spans constructed using that method.[3]


  1. ^ "Report on A Proposed Highway Bridge Across the Columbia River At Umatilla, Oregon". Umatilla County, Oregon, Benton County, Washington, Oregon Highway Commission, Washington Toll Bridge Authority. September 1952. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  2. ^ Long, Priscilla; Gibson, Elizabeth (February 15, 2007). "Umatilla Bridge spanning the Columbia River opens on April 15, 1955". HistoryLink. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  3. ^ "Final List of Nationally and Exceptionally Significant Features of the Federal Interstate Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 

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