State completes new section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

State completes new section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.(Photo: State of Oregon)

The new path is 1.2 miles long and is located between Interstate 84 Exit 54 and 56.
(Photo: State of Oregon)

The State of Oregon is inching ever closer to re-connecting the Historic Columbia River Highway — an engineering marvel that opened 100 years ago this year but fell into disrepair when Interstate 84 was built.

On Saturday the Oregon Department of Transportation, Oregon State Parks, the U.S. Forest Service and Western Federal Lands will come together to dedicate the latest new piece of the state trail that will eventually connect Troutdale to The Dalles.

This latest segment is a 1.2 mile off-highway path that goes from Lindsey Creek to Starvation Creek. The new path includes a new trailhead parking area, a new bridge over Warren Creek and a waterfall viewing area.

Here’s a shot of the Warren Creek Bridge (photo by Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway)

hcrh-WarrenCreekBridge

At Saturday’s event there will be five stations where visitors can learn about project details from agency staffers and meet Peg Willis and Laura O. Foster, authors of books about the Gorge.







The Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway are encouraging attendees to bike to the event because Saturday also happens to be National Bike Your Park Day.

ODOT is nearly three decades into this project which has now restored 68 of the 73 miles of the original historic highway.

The next segment of the path currently in development and expected to begin construction this winter is from Wyeth to Lindsey Creek. Only a few miles remain but they will be the most difficult ones to complete. The state estimates a cost of about $30 million to reconnect the path around Shellrock Mountain and over the Summit Creek Viaduct.

The Mitchell Point Segment in the center of this map is the last — and most expensive — section left.

The Mitchell Point Segment in the center of this map is the last — and most expensive — section left.

At the centennial celebration in June former Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski urged lawmakers and advocates to get it done. When completed, the historic highway and state trail will be, “one of the most unique, long-term and attractive cycling experiences in the United States.”

Learn more about the project at ODOT’s website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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