#175–It’s all about bridges . . .

I’ve been on the phone mainly to the South Coast promoting my new book, Devil Cat, and checking to see if any copies of Crossings or The Crossings Guide are needed. I’ve mailed boxes of bridge books to three venues this week and all the others want me to call back in a few weeks when the new book is actually available. They expect to need more bridge books by then. The following venues that wanted books this week are just a sampling of the types of places that carry the books.

Here are both bridge books: Crossings and The Crossings Guide.

Here are both bridge books: Crossings and The Crossings Guide.

I made sales to South Slough Estuarine Reserve, Gold Beach Books, Astoria Column, and the Coos Historical & Maritime Center. The last place, previously known as Coos Historical & Maritime Museum, will have not only a new name but a new home very soon.

The construction of the new museum in Coos Bay has been in the works for the past couple of years and will have its grand opening May 31. At the moment, the museum is not open as they are in the process of moving and setting up new exhibits and displays. So I will deliver the books they want early in May and get a “sneak peak” at the new facility. It will be on the waterfront off Highway 101 just south of the Red Lion Inn.

It will be a larger space than what they had in North Bend’s Simpson Park. The architectural drawings show some aspects of the past incorporated into the building design, but there are also modern touches involving lots of glass. I’m anxious to see it.

Anyone who travels the coast this year will notice bridgework from Coos Bay to Astoria. ODOT is busy; your tax dollars at work.

The McCullough Memorial Bridge when it was new in 1936.

The McCullough Memorial Bridge when it was new in 1936.

McCullough Memorial Bridge (over Coos Bay)

The old museum was close to the southern end of the mile-long McCullough Memorial Bridge. The southern end underwent four years of work including new railings and cathodic protection on the six underlying concrete arches. Now the bridge is in the middle of five years of work to repair the concrete and apply the zinc cathodic protection to the arches on the northern end. There is one more arch on this end and more are anchored below the water’s surface. That’s why the northern end will take an additional year.

A 16-foot-4-inch load height restriction is in place indefinitely for both north- and south-bound traffic. Throughout the work, both sidewalks will be open and intermittent nighttime lane closures may occur.

Umpqua River Bridge (northern end of Reedsport)

This is the second year of a two-year project to paint the 430-foot swing span and make repairs to the bridge. This bridge will have both sidewalks closed until September 2015. And at night intermittent lane closures with flaggers may occur.

New rails on Cape Creek Bridge with star burst design.

New rails on Cape Creek Bridge with star burst design.

Cape Creek Bridge (north of Florence)

Notice the brand new bridge rails and sidewalks. This project was completed in 2014. Both the rails and sidewalk had damage due to saltwater penetrating the concrete and exposing the rebar. The new rails have the original look with a star burst design but are four inches higher to meet new safety standards. Some of the original rails are on display as part of the landscaping at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum in Florence.

The Alsea Bay Bridge received a fresh coat of paint in the past couple of years.

The Alsea Bay Bridge received a fresh coat of paint in the past couple of years.

Alsea Bay Bridge (northern end of Waldport)

Notice the new paint job. On this bridge, the rails and arch are made of steel, and they were repainted a soft yellow color. The days of only green paint on steel sections are over. Other maintenance was also accomplished. This project was completed November 2013.

Old Youngs Bay & Lewis & Clark River bridges (on Business 101 south of Astoria)

Going off the beaten track is how you get to these two early McCullough bridges. When they were built, they were part of Highway 101. And that was the case until the new Youngs Bay Bridge between Warrenton and Astoria was built in 1964. Taking this alternate business route provides a chance to see both a single and a double leaf bascule drawbridge. The bridges provide a glimpse into McCullough’s style early in his career as a bridge designer. They are not nearly as elegant as his later bridges.

The three-year project began this winter and is scheduled to be completed November 2017.

The double bascule Old Youngs Bay Bridge, the first bridge designed by McCullough in Oregon in 1921, is undergoing rehabilitation of the electrical and mechanical systems. Expect minor delays when single lane closures occur; watch for flaggers.

The single bascule Lewis & Clark River Bridge, built in 1924, is totally closed to facilitate reconstruction. This will last until August 2015. A detour route is currently designated with signs. This bridge is the only single bascule bridge in Oregon.

This view is taken from the Astoria Column and still doesn't get all of the 4-mile long bridge.

This view is taken from the Astoria Column and still doesn’t get all of the 4-mile long bridge.

Astoria-Megler Bridge (connecting Oregon & Washington)

The three-span, 2,464-foot long steel truss on the Astoria end of this four-mile long bridge completed in 1966 is being painted above the guardrail and steel components are being rehabilitated as required. Work includes removing the original lead-containing paint plus any subsequent added paint and re-painting, as well as doing any repair work.

Flaggers control single lane traffic during construction as required. On this bridge, the work is taking place on weekends as well as weekdays. Delays are trying to be kept to no more than 20 minutes in either direction, and the project is scheduled to be completed July 2015.

Gottta keep all those bridge aficionados out there up to date on these wonderful coastal bridges.

Note: I’ll be off to California to see family for the next couple of weeks––first time in a year. Sir Groucho will be okay. There’ll be folks staying at my house, taking care of him while I’m gone. After I return, I expect copies of Devil Cat to arrive within a few days. I’ll keep you posted.

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About crossingsauthor

Freelance writer/editor and author of Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges, The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans, and Around Florence. Spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.
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