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Lyons Ferry Bridge

   


Lyons Ferry Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 21, 2014
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
WA-261 Over Snake River (Lake Herbert G West)
Location
Rural: Columbia County, Washington and Franklin County, Washington
Structure Type
Metal Cantilever 26 Panel Multiple-Type-Connected Baltimore Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Metal 9 Panel Rivet-Connected Pratt Deck Truss, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1927 By Builder/Contractor: Kuckenberg and Wittman of Portland, Oregon and Engineer/Design: Washington Department of Highways

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1968
Main Span Length
520 Feet (158.5 Meters)
Structure Length
2040 Feet (621.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
20 Feet (6.1 Meters)
Spans
3 Main Span(s) and 8 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
0008390A0000000

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

HAER Documentation, Washington Cantilever Bridges - Data Pages - Drawings

View Historic Structure Reports For This Bridge

This bridge is one of the most fascinating bridges in Washington State. The bridge was originally located at Vantage, Washington where it was built in 1927 to cross the Columbia River. In the early 1960s, the construction of the Wanapam Dam was going to raise the water levels and a higher bridge was needed. The bridge was therefore replaced, however the 1927 bridge was dismantled and placed into storage. In 1968 it was erected here in its current location at Lyons Ferry. Some additional concrete approach spans were built to accommodate the crossing in addition to the 1927 truss spans. Truss bridges were historically relocated and reused in this manner, but the practice was more common in the late 1800s and early 20th Century. Additionally, it was usually done with smaller simple span truss bridges, not enormous cantilever truss bridges. This is one of the largest known truss bridges to have been relocated in this manner.

As the bridge was relocated in the late 1960s when bolts were replacing rivets as the preferred fastener, all connections on this bridge are bolted. They would originally have been riveted however, which is why this is listed as a rivet-connected truss bridge on this website. The use of bolts instead of rivets is the only major alteration to the original truss materials and design. Brackets are still welded on the end posts of the suspended span which were used to lift the pre-assembled suspended span into place when it was moved here. Before the bridge was erected here, a ferry served the needs of highway traffic.

Built in 1927, this is not an early example of a cantilever truss bridge, but it is an early surviving cantilever truss, especially among highway bridges, since many of the earlier highway cantilever truss bridges have been demolished and replaced. It stands out as particularly early among cantilever truss bridges in Washington State, since the state has a number of cantilever trusses dating to after 1930, but few dating to before 1930.

The shape of this cantilever truss is very unusual and distinctive. It is strikingly similar in shape to the Quebec Bridge in Canada, perhaps the only bridge in the United States (or Canada) to so closely resemble that famous bridge in shape. The triangular shape formed by both the top and bottom chords at each end of the bridge combined with the polygonal top chord of the suspended span are the features that make this bridge look like the Quebec Bridge. In the details however, the Lyons Ferry Bridge is very different, since its anchor and cantilever arms do not follow the K-truss configuration of the Quebec Bridge and instead a Baltimore truss configuration is used. The Lyons Ferry Bridge is also much smaller in terms of main span length.

To describe this bridge's current location as unique and beautiful is an understatement. Firstly, the location is very rural, and because of this, traffic is fairly light on this bridge, which is unusual for a bridge of this size since bridges crossing large rivers are spaced far apart which generally results in high traffic counts. Its nice to be able to enjoy a bridge of this type without nonstop trucks crossing the bridge. Second, the natural scenery of the location is absolutely incredible. The historic structure reports describe the rocky, arid landscape of steep volcanic rock that was exposed by ancient floods as otherworldly and this is a great description. Its a unique landscape for a unique bridge.

This bridge is next to the Joso High Bridge, a spectacular bridge in its own right.

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Photos and Videos: Lyons Ferry Bridge

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A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
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