Mitchell Point Tunnel

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Inside the tunnel

The Mitchell Point Tunnel was a tunnel located towards the eastern end of the Historic Columbia River Highway in Oregon, United States. It existed from 1915 to 1966.


Looking up from the river
Entrance to the tunnel

The tunnel was designed by John Arthur Elliott, who was inspired by a tunnel similarly set into a cliff face above Lake Lucerne in Switzerland.[1] It was built in 1915 and opened late in the year, the first major roadway tunnel in the United States.[2] The tunnel measured 390 feet (120 m) long, 18 feet (5.5 m) wide, and 10 feet (3.0 m) tall.[2]

In 1932, the Tooth Rock Tunnel was opened, and some traffic was rerouted to the new alignment,[3] though Mitchell Point Tunnel remained open to vehicle traffic until the early 1950s, when the road was rerouted to the base of Mitchell Point.[1] The tunnel was subsequently blocked off with debris, and remained closed until 1966 when it was destroyed as part of Interstate 84 construction.[1]

As part of the rebuilding of the Columbia River Highway into a network of trails, the Oregon Department of Transportation has considered the possibility of boring a new tunnel on Mitchell Point.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Historic Columbia River Highway Recording Project" (PDF). Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  2. ^ a b Berlow, Lawrence (2015). Reference Guide to Famous Engineering Landmarks of the World: Bridges, Tunnels, Dams, Roads and Other Structures. Routledge. ISBN 978-1579580926.
  3. ^ "Tunnel Creator Honored by Scholarship". Columns - The University of Washington Alumni Magazine. March 2002. Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Mitchell Point project receives $28 million from US Dept. of Transportation". Gorge News Center. 26 November 2016. Retrieved 18 April 2017.

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Coordinates: 45°42′15″N 121°37′01″W / 45.704096°N 121.616839°W / 45.704096; -121.616839