This bridge is large, long, and unique. From south to north, the bridge can be roughly divided into three sections: The curved south/Astoria approach ramp, the enormous continuous main through truss spans, a low-level causeway, and lastly a slightly elevated series of simple span through trusses at the northern/Megler end. The causeway is the longest section of the bridge and it creates an unusually long distance between the two truss sections of the bridge. This distance is difficult to capture in photos, so videos of crossing this bridge are included on this page.
The bridge is an iconic landmark of Astoria, and the bridge has been seen in movies filmed in Astoria. Despite its relatively young age, the bridge is historically and technologically significant for its overall length as well as its main span length. The design of the main spans are also unusual. In fact, this bridge's main spans are very misleading in appearance. Looking at the central/navigation span of the three main spans, towards the center of the bridge the repeating "V" pattern of the Warren truss is interupted for one panel, and at this location, pins are visible. This is usually a dead giveaway for a cantilever truss bridge with a suspended span. And for this bridge, during construction, that is indeed how the bridge functioned, as a cantilever truss with cantilever arms holding this suspended span in the center. However, when erection was completed, this suspended span was riveted to the cantilever arm turning the pin-connected hanger system into rigid, riveted connections. This change resulted in the truss functioning as a continuous truss, rather than a cantilever truss. The suspended span no longer "hangs" from cantilever arms, it is instead from an engineering standpoint all part of the same truss in terms of force distribution. This differs from a traditional cantilever truss because in a traditional cantilever truss the suspended span is literally like a completely independent, separate truss bridge that is hanging from the cantilever arms. Some details of this unusual design which accommodated a specific construction and erection procedure, can be seen detailed in these original erection plans.
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