The Historic Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport
Published: 06/13/2009 Updated: 08/14/2019
Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge, completed in 1936, is one of the 14 bridges on Highway 101 designed by Conde McCullough.
photo by Gary Hayes
Designed by visionary bridge engineer Conde McCullough and inspired by the Art Deco era, Newport's Yaquina Bay Bridge is a perfect display of functional art on a grand scale.
Bridges are often just stretches of highway crossing bodies of water or ravines. The Yaquina Bay Bridge is more. The spectacular arch bridge that spans Yaquina Bay in Newport is an art form in itself. Oregon's visionary bridge engineer Conde McCullough believed bridges should be beautiful as well as economical and efficient. The Yaquina Bay Bridge is a fine example of his work, with a combination of both steel and concrete arches and is one of the most recognizable of the 14 bridges on U.S. Highway 101 that McCullough designed. The main span of the 3223-foot structure is a 600-foot steel arch flanked by identical 350-foot steel arches. Four reinforced concrete supports in an art deco style extend high above the deck. The bridge was completed September 6, 1936, by 220 workers at a cost of $1.3 million. Construction of the bridge brought Highway 101 right up to the bluff beside the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse. Unfortunately it also bypassed Newport's bayfront district, creating a decline in business until tourism efforts brought visitors back to the popular area. The Yaquina Bay Bridge can be seen from many vantage points, including the adjacent lighthouse property. The north staircase is an interesting spot, and a particularly picturesque viewpoint is at the marina, with boats in the foreground and the bridge silhouetted against a sunset sky.