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Iconic Oregon Coast Bridge Finishes Restoration Early, Under Budget - Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge

Published 11/10/23 a 3:35 p.m.
y Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Newport, Oregon) – There's a lot of reason for celebrating what just happened with one iconic Oregon coast structure. Even though 12 years ago Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge celebrated its 75th birthday, it just completed a major facelift under budget and well ahead of time. Now, it's closing in on 100 years old with a new shine. (Photo Oregon Coast Beach Connection).

That restoration work went exceptionally well, helping to preserve some integral history in Oregon..

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced this week that visitors may notice a change in the look of the historic Yaquina Bay Bridge as it just finished the project six months ahead of time and $2 million under budget.

ODOT spokesman Mindy McCartt said it's a remarkable transformation which started in the spring of 2020, launching this upkeep effort which also involved restoring its look and structural integrity. Thus, the work is expanding its lifespan as well as making it all shiny and pretty.

Construction on the bridge started back in 1934 and it was dedicated in October of 1936. Being in that Oregon coast salt air that long creates corrosion issues, and this was addressed in the facelift over the last three years, along with repairing damaged concrete, and fortifying the bridge against potential earthquakes.

How long is the Yaquina Bay Bridge? Length is 3,260 feet long and it has two 350-foot steel arches.

“This restoration was crucial to keep the Yaquina Bay Bridge safe and in good working order,” McCartt said. “These improvements make sure the bridge can better handle challenges from nature and earthquakes.”

Yaquina Bay Bridge Historical Fact: The Yaquina Bay Bridge opened for traffic on Labor Day in 1936, and was dedicated on Saturday, October 3, 1936.

The bridge is a vital route along U.S. 101 for travelers and the regional economy.

Getting this mammoth project done in this manner is a point of pride for ODOT.

“We completed the project six months ahead of time, significantly reducing project management and overhead costs,” McCartt said. “This achievement speaks volumes about the efficiency and dedication of the project team.”

The Yaquina Bay Bridge was designed by OSU professor Conde McCullough, who also designed 11 other bridges in Oregon, many on the coast. In all, he designed some 600 bridges around the world. Funding the bridge construction was originally part of the federally-funded projects that helped end the Great Depression, and which helped kickstart tourism along the Oregon coast. MORE OF THE BRIDGE 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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