The Oregon Coast's Classic Bridges are Works of Art and Engineering
By Erin Bernard
Published: 06/23/2014  Updated: 08/16/2019
Photo by Gary Hayes
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Connecting the Coastal Highway, Bridges Built by Conde McCullough

The Oregon Coast Highway has some of the most scenic viewpoints in the country and connecting it all are the bridges built by Conde McCullough.

These 15 historic bridges still stand today as significant landmarks, connecting the coast from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south.

Old Youngs Bay Bridge (1921)
Youngs Bay, Astoria – Milepost 6.89
McCullough’s oldest existing coastal bridge is a double-leaf bascule drawspan constructed in Art Deco style and bookended by his signature wood-and-concrete pylons. Today, the New Youngs Bay Bridge is the primary artery between Astoria and Warrenton, but the original iteration remains as functional as it is fine: it’s still raised each day to let fishing boats pass beneath.

Lewis and Clark River Bridge (1924)
Lewis and Clark River, Astoria – Milepost 4.78
This cousin structure to the Old Youngs Bay Bridge boasts a single-leaf bascule drawspan built to grant easy passage to the North Coast’s burgeoning seaside towns. Today, this and Old Youngs Bay Bridge field local traffic, while New Youngs Bay Bridge serves as the Oregon Coast Highway’s main portal to the popular region.

Conde McCullough Memorial Bridge (1936)
Coos Bay – Milepost 234.03
Also called the Coos Bay Bridge, this structure pays tribute to McCullough’s innovative engineering approach. Its novel concrete arches and curving chords emphasize the aesthetic, so look up and be awed: you’ll have the sensation of passing beneath a magnificent series of arches.

Isaac Lee Patterson Bridge (1931)
Rogue River, Gold Beach – Milepost 327.7
Built at the height of The Great Depression, this unforgettable seven-arch bridge spans the Rogue River from Gold Beach to Wedderburn. Ornately embellished, with its many arches smoothed to resemble stone, the structure pays pleasing homage to the Art Deco tradition.

Wilson River Bridge (1931)
Wilson River, Tillamook – Milepost 64.73
The oldest in a trifecta of identical, floodplain-traversing coastal bridges built in a single year by Mac and his team, this was the first American bridge built in the “bowstring and arch” style. Can you spot the tautly drawn bow?

Depoe Bay Bridge (1927)
Depoe Bay– Milepost 127.61
Depoe Bay is said to be the world’s smallest bay, and this Art Moderne bridge was once as impressively svelte: the original incarnation was just 18 feet wide with nary a sidewalk in sight. The pass became much more foot-friendly after 1940, when a sister structure widened the way.

Yaquina Bay Bridge (1936)
Yaquina Bay, Newport – Milepost 141.68
Nothing says “Newport” like this mammoth arch bridge, influenced by the Art Deco, Art Moderne and Gothic traditions. It’s built from 30,000 cubic yards of concrete and 3,100 tons of steel and rises 135 feet above sea level. Visit the pedestrian overlook at sunset for an unforgettable show.

Tenmile Creek Bridge (1931)
Tenmile Creek, Yachats – Milepost 171.44
The second in McCullough’s floodplain trifecta, this tied arch bridge with bowstring arch spans 180 feet, with its main arch spanning 120 feet.

Big Creek Bridge (1931)
Big Creek, Lane County– Milepost 175.02
Why mess with success? The third bridge in McCullough’s floodplain trifecta, erected in 1931, passes over an enticingly photogenic spit of the Oregon coast.

Cape Creek Bridge (1932)
Cape Creek, Heceta Head– Milepost 178.35
Designed to mimic a famous French aqueduct, this towering beauty traces its good looks back to the Roman era. But steel your nerves! The lofty open spandrels tunnel right into the high hills of Heceta Head on the south end.

Siuslaw River Bridge (1936)
Siuslaw River, Florence– Milepost 190.98
Often hailed as a shining example of McCullough’s knack for marrying the industrial and artistic, this Gothic-style, double-leaf bascule drawspan boasts plenty of captivating details. Watch for the Art Deco obelisks, which double as pier houses for bridge operators.

Umpqua River Bridge (1936)
Umpqua River, Reedsport– Milepost 211.21
This swinging drawbridge routes drivers over the wide, shallow Umpqua and grants ships safe passage beneath gorgeously fluted pylons. It’s the longest of its kind in Oregon.

Cummins Creek River Bridge (1931)
Cummins Creek, Lane County– Milepost 168.44
This concrete open-spandrel arch bridge, restored in 2001 and located at Neptune Scenic Viewpoint, looks straight out of a postcard. Admire its fine detail and soak up pleasant surrounding views.

Ben Jones Memorial Bridge (1927)
Rocky Creek, Lincoln County– Milepost 130.03
Originally called Rocky Creek Bridge, this bridge was later renamed for a fellow founding father of the coastal highways. The surrounding highway winds through pretty Otter Rock Scenic Loop.

Alsea Bay Bridge (1936)
Waldport– Milepost 155.54
This huge, tied-arch bridge passing over sweeping Alsea Bay in Waldport isn’t technically a McCullough original; it’s a replacement erected in 1991. Stop into the visitor’s center for demolition and rebuilding footage.
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The Oregon Coast's Classic Bridges are Works of Art and Engineering