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Great Columbia Crossing Readies to Wow N. Oregon Coast, Almost at Capacity

Published 10/02/2019 at 5:23 AM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Great Columbia Crossing Readies to Wow N. Oregon Coast, Almost at Capacity

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(Astoria, Oregon) – The north Oregon coast’s gargantuan Great Columbia Crossing is closing in fast on the finish line with registration almost maxed out, according to organizers. Meanwhile, Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is releasing full information on the total closure of the Astoria-Megler Bridge on the date of the run, October 13.

It’s the 37th year of the event.

The Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce said the run is the year’s only opportunity to cross the longest continuous truss bridge in North America on foot. Runners and walkers trekking from Washington to Oregon across the Astoria-Megler Bridge can focus on their performance without being confined to one lane and without the distraction of passing cars.

The 200-foot incline offers runners and walkers scenic views of the mouth of the river and marine activity below. After crossing the finish line, participants can head into the historic town of Astoria to fuel up with coastal fare and local craft brews as the morning fog starts to lift.

Registration is open for the Official USA Track & Field Certified Event (#OR12025LB). All participants will be timed via electronic chip, and competitive racers will be allowed to start ahead of the walkers and those wishing to take in the scenery. More than 2,800 participants have already registered, and the event is on pace to reach full capacity. Chamber organizers said last week it was 80 percent full at the time. Registration is $40 and an optional T-shirt may be purchased for $15. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. More information is at www.greatcolumbiacrossing.com, 503-325-6311 or 800-875-6807.

Merchandise for participants commemorating the experience includes this year’s long-sleeve event t-shirt featuring original artwork designed for the event by Idea Print Works Inc. in Newport, on the central Oregon coast.

There will be free parking with shuttle bus service to start of race from the Port of Astoria or the Port of Chinook, Washington.

In a press release, ODOT said last year was the first time that the bridge was completely closed for the event and it will do so again. ODOT, which has jurisdiction over the bridge, closes the bridge to vehicles to enhance the safety and security for participants, volunteers and motorists. ODOT works closely with the Oregon State Police, Washington Department of Transportation, City of Astoria and the event organizer, the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce.

In addition, ODOT will not allow vehicles to line up to wait to cross the bridge on either the Oregon or Washington side. Motorists will be dispersed and directed away from the bridge during the event. A possible detour route during the closure is using the Lewis and Clark Bridge that connects U.S. 30 and SR 4 at Rainier and Longview.

Until last year, one lane was open with a pilot car controlling two-way traffic. But the 4.1 mile long bridge is narrow and event participants were always running and walking close to moving vehicles. Law enforcement authorities were particularly concerned about the mixing of vehicle traffic and race participants and others. Last year’s full closure of the bridge provided a safe venue for all participants.

The public needs to take note of the closure time and avoid trying to cross the bridge during that time. In order to get the bridge open by 11 a.m., participants still on the bridge at 10:50 a.m. will be picked up by shuttle bus to clear the bridge.

ODOT will post variable message signs at both ends of the bridge at least one week before the event warning motorists of the closure. TripCheck will also be updated to reflect the closure.

For updates on traffic, go to www.TripCheck.com or call 511. Access for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, is available and identified through or around work zones. Hotels in Astoria/Seaside - Where to eat - Astoria Maps and Virtual Tours

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