Umatilla Bridge

The Umatilla Bridge is the collective name for a pair of bridges in the northwest United States, carrying Interstate 82/U.S. Route 395 (I-82/US 395) across the Columbia River at the WashingtonOregon border. The older bridge opened in July 1955 and is a steel through truss cantilever bridge and carries southbound (east on I-82) traffic. Northbound traffic (west on I-82) and pedestrians travel on the newer concrete arch bridge, opened in 1988.

Umatilla Bridge
Umatilla Bridges.jpg
Looking north from Oregon; older bridge in the foreground
Coordinates45°55′52″N 119°19′41″W / 45.931°N 119.328°W / 45.931; -119.328Coordinates: 45°55′52″N 119°19′41″W / 45.931°N 119.328°W / 45.931; -119.328
Carries I-82 / US 395
CrossesColumbia River
LocaleBenton County, Washington – Umatilla County, Oregon
Official nameInterstate 82 Columbia River Bridge
DesignThrough truss cantilever bridge (southbound)
Arch bridge (northbound)
MaterialSteel (southbound)
Concrete (northbound)
Total length3,308 ft (1,008.3 m) (southbound)
3,433 ft (1,046.4 m) (northbound)
Width27.58 ft (8.4 m) (southbound)
Longest span600 ft (182.9 m) (southbound)
No. of spans5 (southbound)
2 (northbound)
Clearance above16 ft (4.9 m) (southbound)
Clearance below85 ft (25.9 m) (southbound)
80 ft (24.4 m) (northbound)
OpenedJuly 15, 1955 (southbound)
1988 (northbound)
Daily traffic8,150 (2004)



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 dedicated on July 15, 1955, by the governors of Oregon and Washington.[2] The bridge was financed by $10 million worth of bonds and operated as a toll bridge[3] for 19 years until August 30, 1974,[4] when the bonds were fully repaid.[5]

The original span was considered for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places in the early 2000s.[6]


On June 12, 2017, work began on the rehabilitation the older steel truss bridge. The bridge had been found to be structurally deficient by the Washington State Department of Transportation. Two projects were proposed to repair the bridge. The first project involved repairing the bridge deck which involved shifting traffic off of the 1955 bridge onto the 1988 bridge at a cost of $9.5 million. This project is set to be completed in mid-June 2019 and traffic will once again travel on both of the bridges.[7] The second project involves repainting the steel truss structure at an estimated cost of $40 million.[8]


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 (180 m) spans, each constructed using the cantilever method, this is the only bridge in Oregon having two spans constructed using that method.[9]


  1. ^ Center for Columbia River History (n.d.). "Document" adapted from Report on A Proposed Highway Bridge Across the Columbia River At Umatilla, Oregon for Umatilla County, Oregon, Benton County, Washington, Oregon Highway Commission, Washington Toll Bridge Authority, September, 1952 (Report). Center for Columbia River History. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  2. ^ Orchard, Vance (March 19, 1967). "Umatilla Bridge Was Opened 12 Years Ago". Walla Walla Union-Bulletin. p. 10.
  3. ^ "Use of Umatilla Bridge Suggested by Governor". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. February 4, 1958. p. 5B – via Google News.
  4. ^ "Tolls Discontinued". Eugene Register-Guard. Associated Press. August 31, 1974. p. 4A – via Google News.
  5. ^ Long, Priscilla; Gibson, Elizabeth (February 15, 2007). "Umatilla Bridge spanning the Columbia River opens on April 15, 1955". HistoryLink. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  6. ^ Lord, Kristina (July 17, 2001). "Bridges to history: Mid-Columbia bridges considered for National Register of Historic Places". Tri-City Herald. pp. A1–A2.
  7. ^ Mann, David (May 31, 2019). "WSDOT: Umatilla Bridge construction will be finished by mid-June". Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  8. ^ Culverwell, Wendy (June 9, 2017). "Work starts Monday on $10M Umatilla Bridge repairs". Tri-City Herald. Retrieved June 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Federal Highway Administration (November 1, 2006). "Final List of Nationally and Exceptionally Significant Features of the Federal Interstate Highway System". Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved June 24, 2008.

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