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Vernita Bridge

Vernita Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 27, 2014

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
WA-24 Over Columbia River
Rural: Benton County, Washington and Grant County, Washington: United States
Structure Type
Metal 10 Panel Rivet-Connected Polygonal Warren Through Truss, Fixed and Approach Spans: Pre-Stressed Concrete Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1965 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
264 Feet (80.5 Meters)
Structure Length
1,982 Feet (604.1 Meters)
Roadway Width
28 Feet (8.53 Meters)
3 Main Span(s) and 14 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

This bridge is unusual because its three main spans have polygonal top chords that are oriented in a manner that the three spans form a single arch shape, making the bridge look like a single continuous three-span truss. However, in reality the trusses are three simple spans. Mark Bozanich commented on www.bridgehunter.com that the Vernita Bridge was built with three simple trusses so that the center truss could be converted to a vertical lift span. There were plans at one time to build a dam downstream from Vernita and upstream from the Tri-Cities equipped with locks. Plans were abandoned now that the dam site is part of the Hanford Reach National Monument. Mark's comments seem to be supported by the physical configuration of the truss. Most notably, the piers for the center truss span are quite a bit wider than they need to be, suggesting that the piers were built to either completely or partially accommodate the towers that would be needed to make the bridge a vertical lift. Also, at the pier, the vertical end posts have empty bolt holes which could have been intended for attaching the lift tower and related materials.

The bridge is a late example of a metal truss bridge, and barely old enough to be considered historic. However, the bridge does stand out for its unusual false-continuous design. It also represents the end of the riveted truss era. Truss bridges built in the 60s like this bridge usually have details that show the decline in use of rivets and increase in the use of welds and bolts. What is unusual is that this bridge still used riveted connections, instead of bolted connections which are often found on 1960s bridges. In contrast, the built-up beams that compose the truss are welded, which is unusual since the built-up beams is one location where rivets are often still found on 1960s bridges.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Vernita Bridge

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Maps and Links: Vernita Bridge

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