Safe, cross-river connection of people to ports and places
Thousands of commuters. Millions of tourists. Tens of millions of goods
and services. Hood River and Klickitat counties. What’s the connection
between all of these? Why, bridges, of course. Without these man-made
structures, there would be far less commerce, access and enjoyment of
our incredibly beautiful and diverse region.
INVESTING IN THE FUTURE
Keeping both bridges in good working
order is becoming increasingly more
difcult. While short-term capital
improvements can extend the life of
bridge components, ultimately both
bridges must be replaced to avoid:
- Deck weld cracking
- Seismic vulnerability
- Steel and concrete deterioration
Fortunately, it’s not too late to begin
assessing and planning for both bridge
replacement projects. As a community,
we need to come together to invest in
determining the best path forward to
build new, seismically sound connectors.
THE HOOD RIVER-WHITE SALMON INTERSTATE BRIDGE
Truss bridge with a vertical lift spanning the Columbia
River between Hood River, Oregon and White
Salmon, Washington, connecting I-84/U.S. Rte. 30
to Wash. SR 14.
- Completed construction: 1924
- Annual transport: $75 million in goods
- Annual trafc: 3.6 million vehicle crossings
- Horizontal clearance: 246 ft
- Lanes: Two lanes, each 9 ft 4 in wide
- Length: 4,418 ft
- Maximum weight: 80,000 lb
- Lift span closed: 67 ft (water level dependent)
- Lift span full open: 148 ft (water level dependent)
- Max deck clearance: 14 ft
- Operated by the Port of Hood River since 1950
THE BRIDGE OF THE GODS
Steel truss cantilever bridge spanning the Columbia
River between Cascade Locks, Oregon and
Washington state near North Bonneville.
- Completed construction: 1926
- Annual transport: $35 million in goods
- Annual trafc: 1.6 million vehicle crossings
- Height above water: 140 ft
- Lanes: Two lanes, each 12 ft wide
- Length: 1,858 ft
- Maximum weight: 80,000 lb
- Operated by the Port of Cascade Locks since
Public Safety, Economic Vitality, Easy Access
The bridges of the Columbia River Gorge are not “nice-to-have” optional connectors. Both are essential transportation links that connect a shared workforce, and provide much-needed access to retail and public services.
Provides cross-river access to Washington and Oregon
- The majority of regional employment is located in Oregon.
- Commuters make an average of 10-15 percent of daily trips.
- Nine percent of workers living in Klickitat County commute to Oregon’s Wasco and Hood River counties.
- Six percent of workers living in Hood River County commute to Klickitat County.
- Several Oregon-based businesses estimate that 20-30 percent of their employees commute from Washington.
Supports the regional economy
- Hood River is the economic center of the region.
- Per-capita retail sales in Klickitat County are only about one-fourth of Hood River County’s, and the City of Hood River accounts for 90 percent of the estimated $260 million in retail sales occuring in White Salmon, Bingen and Hood River combined (2007).
- Because the majority of retail and other services are located in Hood River County, Washington residents depend on the bridges for access to shops and businesses.
Enables interstate transport of goods and services
- The majority of freight goods crossing the bridges are wood products and fruit.
- Because the bridges facilitate easy cross-river freight movement, manufacturers and producers can choose regional businesses for their material processing.
- Some 10-20 percent of manufactured products and fruit grown here cross the bridges, at a value $35-$75 million annually (based on business-provided estimates, 2007).
Opens up access to recreation and tourism
- Visitors rely on the bridges for access to attractions and recreational opportunities on both sides of the river, including the growing wine industry.
- The bridges also provide access to the many retail services and accommodations available primarily in Hood River.
- The bridges offer visitors a direct connection between the main tourism centers, preventing the inconvenience of traveling miles to the next-nearest river crossing.
Supplies emergency services access
- The bridges allow local emergency service providers the opportunity to combine resources.
- Inter-local agreements among regional re services promote mutual aide on 911 emergencies as well as shared resources, such as personnel, funding and equipment.
- The bridges enable quicker emergency response time to Portland-area hospitals
and trauma centers.
Bridges Then & Now
Every generation has experienced the power and possibilities of the Gorge’s bridges. Since the 1920s, the Hood River- White Salmon Interstate Bridge and the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks have enabled countless journeys and untold commerce. They have been essential to economic vitality and quality of life in the region.
Throughout their lifetime, both bridges have been well maintained, keeping them safe and functional well into their eighth, going on ninth, decade. Neither bridge, however, can continue to safely keep pace with modern-day transport needs and increasing demands. Neither bridge can maintain structural capacity indenitely.