Umatilla Bridge

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. The bridge was financed by $10 million worth of bonds and operated as a toll bridge until 1974, when the bonds were fully repaid.

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.

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