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Construction, Some Delays on Oregon's Little Icon Near Depoe Bay: Ben Jones Bridge

Published 3/30/24 at 3:35 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – Call it what you will: Ben Jones Bridge or Rocky Creek Bridge. It goes by two names a lot, although the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) usually lists it as the Ben Jones Bridge. Either way, the historic little icon near Depoe Bay is going under the knife for awhile, starting in April, hopefully missing the bulk of the tourist season along the central Oregon coast.

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ODOT said work here begins soon, which will mean noise, traffic delays and flaggers out there directing traffic as needed. Crews will be working on removing the old paint from the structure, going north to south. They'll also be making repairs and putting on new paint.

The Ben Jones Bridge sits on Otter Crest Loop Road, a somewhat hidden scenic route that's tucked in tightly along the hillsides below Highway 101. It's not high-traffic, so inconveniences to travelers will be few.

Originally built in 1927, it needs refurbishing every now and then, being on the Oregon coast.

“The metal can get damaged from exposure to the salt water and harsh winds,” ODOT said. “The work we're doing is part of routine maintenance to preserve the bridge and keep it in service for years to come.”

ODOT said there will be precautions to keep the fragile ecosystem here pristine.

“In April, we'll put up a system to contain our work and help protect the environment. It'll look like we're wrapping the bridge in plastic,” the agency said.

It will also look like they're painting the bridge, ODOT said. They will be replacing the system that keeps it from rusting and getting damaged by the elements, a process known as cathodic protection.

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ODOT said to remember that traffic fines are double in work zones, whether workers are there or not.

“Pay attention in the work zone, slow down and move over – imagine this is where you work,” ODOT said. “Always drive safely, watch for construction signs and workers.”

The bridge is named after an Oregon political figure who was one of the primary forces behind getting Highway 101 built over 100 years ago. MORE PHOTOS BELOW

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Andre' GW Hagestedt is editor, owner and primary photographer / videographer of Oregon Coast Beach Connection, an online publication that sees over 1 million pageviews per month. He is also author of several books about the coast.

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