This bridge is historically and technologically significant as a prototypical example of a cable-stayed bridge, and the first of this kind in the United States. It was built around the same time as the world's first modern cable-stayed bridge, the Stromsund Bridge.
The bridge was designed by Homer Hadley, a noted Washington State engineer who was noted for his unusual/unique bridge designs. As an unusual prototype bridge, classifying the bridge is difficult. It is a concrete and steel hybrid. The stays for the bridge are steel boxes that are filled with concrete. The approach spans and the stayed spans are concrete, but the center 60 foot suspended span at the center of the middle span is a steel stringer span. The towers of the bridge are concrete, but the brace at the top between the towers is steel. The bridge has metal railing. The design of the bridge is difficult to describe as well. It has aspects of a cable-stayed bridge, but also that of a cantilever bridge, as it does include a suspended center span. Although when analyzing the appearance of the bridge and its place in the development of bridge technology the bridge is best classified as a cable-stayed bridge, but was described at the time it was built as a "tied cantilever" bridge.
The bridge appears to be unaltered from its original design. It is historically and technologically significant as a prototype of a cable-stayed bridge. The impact that the modern cable-stayed bridge is having on the American landscape is hard to understate. The cable-stayed bridge is a modern bridge type that has with occasional exception replaced both cantilever truss bridges and suspension spans for long-span crossings in modern bridge construction. Although often promoted by DOTs as a unique, "signature" bridge type, the reality is that as of 2014, cable-stayed bridges are a common bridge long-span bridge type and rapidly are becoming ubiquitous landmarks on large navigable rivers. Among historic bridge preservationists, cable-stayed bridges have a notorious reputation, since many of America's largest and finest historic bridges have been demolished and replaced with cable-stayed bridges.
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