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HCRH Completed Projects


2013 Year in Review.  Historic Columbia River Highway Projects.  (PowerPoint Presentation pdf--very large file).

Oneonta Gorge Parking and Vista
This Forest Highway Enhancement project upgraded the parking for Oneonta Gorge, reopened the Oneonta Tunnel and reinforced the Oneonta Creek Bridge.  This project was completed in 2009.
Eagle Creek Exit Ramp
This Forest Highway Enhancement project changed the striping on the Eagle Creek Exit Ramp to provide a contra-flow bike lane connection to the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail.  The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area office of USDA Forest Service designed and constructed this project in 2010.
This project extended the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail between Starvation Creek and Viento State Parks.  Construction was completed in 2009 and trail visitors can now travel from Starvation Creek to Viento State Park solely on the Historic Highway State Trail.
Vista House Restoration Completed in 2006
The interior and exterior restoration of Vista House is complete.  Improvements included interior restoration, new interpretive exhibits, a site and building security system, ADA accessible improvements and a building fund for future needs. The project included full accessibility for people with disabilities: disabled parking spaces, a ramp for access to the rotunda and a lift that provides access to the downstairs from the rotunda.
Rowena Crest Pit Restoration
This National Scenic Byway enhancement project restored the Rowena Pit by adding material and landscaping with native plants.  It also improved the beginning of the trail from Rowena Crest to McCall Point.  Earthmoving began in 2005, with planting scheduled for early 2006.  Oregon Parks and Recreation Department was the lead agency, in partnership with ODOT.
HCRH Gutters completed in 2006
This Forest Highway Enhancement project restored gutters along the Historic Columbia River Highway between Latourell Falls and Dodson.  Pavement also was repaired through milling and repaving.  Two walls were repaired.  The Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration was responsible for this project.
HCRH Interpretive Sites and Signs completed in 2006
This Forest Highway Enhancement project enhanced two gravel parking areas and installed 12 additional interpretive signs along the HCRH.  The parking areas are in Cascade Locks at the intersection of WaNaPa and Forest Lane and in Hood River at the intersection of the HCRH and Oregon 35. 
Starvation Creek to Viento Completed in 2001
The Starvation Creek to Viento project provides almost a mile of HCRH State Trail connecting two State Parks and provides wheel-chair accessible access to a waterfall on Starvation Creek and a nearby picnic area.  Work included construction of a fence to keep rocks off the trail, restoration of historic two-rail wooden guardrail, pavement and a vegetated retaining wall. 

Starvation Creek
Twin Tunnels Rock Catchment Completed in 2000
JAL Construction of Bend, Oregon, completed work on the 700-foot-long structure for the Oregon Department of Transportation. The structure protects pedestrians from falling rock west of the Mosier Twin Tunnels.
Why a rock catchment structure?
Rock fall has been a continual problem at the Mosier Twin Tunnels on the HCRH since their initial completion in 1920. In early 1953, a talus bank under the cliff high above the west tunnel began to slide. By March, a sizable section of the rock face had fallen and littered the pavement with debris measuring from 6 inches to 3 feet near the west tunnel's west portal. Some pieces weighed over a ton. Several automobiles were damaged, and one man was hospitalized. Shortly thereafter, State Highway Engineer Robert H. Baldock closed the Mosier Twin Tunnels segment of the HCRH and diverted traffic to the nearly completed  water-level route for US 30 between Hood River and Mosier. By 1954, the Mosier Twin Tunnels were back-filled in an attempt to stabilize the rock formation and to keep out trespassers.
One of the greatest obstacles to restoring the Hood River to Mosier section of the HCRH for non-motorized use was the Mosier Twin Tunnels. In recent years, a citizens' movement supported reopening the tunnels, and the project became the highest priority for the HCRH Advisory Committee, ODOT, and OPRD. The project commenced in 1995 with removal of back fill and lining debris from the tunnels, installation of rock bolts and shortcrete in the tunnel ceilings, and partial installation of new lining.
ODOT initially considered constructing a traditional "shed" structure west of the west tunnel portal to deflect rock away from the roadway. However, the rocks would land on the Union Pacific Railroad mainline and Interstate 84 below. Instead, ODOT looked into alternatives and eventually chose a structure designed by HNTB of Bellevue, Washington strong enough to catch a 5,000 pound rock falling 200 feet.
The "catchment" structure" employs a column and deck design similar to the viaduct along the HCRH just east of Multnomah Falls, but incorporates some very unique and cleaver features. Six feet of cellular concrete, resting on top of a two-foot concrete lid, is made of cement and foam to "catch" falling rocks, not deflect them over the roadway. The structure attaches to the cliff face with 25-foot anchor bars.
To minimize its appearance from key viewing areas in the Columbia River Gorge, the entire structure will be made of concrete that is tinted with a dark gray coloring agent. This will help it blend in with the surrounding basalt formations. In sum, the catchment structure is a unique design, innovative like the HCRH's original construction. 

Twin Tunnels Rock Catchment
West Trailhead Open
The first phase of construction of the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead has been completed by JAL Construction and the trailhead is open for public use. Visitors will be able to park at the trailhead to hike or bike the five miles of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to the East. Oregon State Park Rangers will be on site to begin management of the facility. Construction will continue on the site as a contractor constructs a visitor contact station with restrooms, a sanitary sewer recirculation filter, and a rock wall overlook.
West Trailhead
Rock Quarry Reclamation
Part of the West Trailhead project was the reclamation work to re-grade the abandoned Koberg rock quarry to give it a more natural look and to install a large variety of native plants and natural grass seed. Most of the plants were grown at Milestone Nursery in Lyle, Washington. Ponderosa Pine, Nootka Rose, Red Flowering Currant,  Barrett's Penstemon, and Oregon Sunshine are just a few of the plants on site.
The second phase of the West Trailhead project is complete. The abandoned Hanel Quarry, which is just east of the former Koberg Quarry, has been reclaimed.  The site will be used for overflow parking for the West Trailhead.
Oregon 35-to-Mosier Historic Roadway Features Restored
Construction is complete on this project to repair all the historic roadway features and pavement on the Historic Columbia River Highway between Hood River and Mosier. The work included repairing and rebuilding of the rock walls and guardrails.  Due to lack of funds, the area between Oregon 35 and the West Trailhead will not receive a pavement overlay.