HCRH State Trail Plan (2011)
Cultural Landscape Inventory Presentation
John B. Yeon State Park to Moffett Creek
[October 2012] If you have been on I-84 in the Gorge lately, you probably have wondered what is happening on the south side of I-84, just west of Bonneville Dam. Construction crews are hard at work building the missing piece in the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail between Warrendale and Cascade Locks.
On July 19, a large crane brought in to place two concrete bridge spans over McCord Creek. The arched bridge spans were fabricated offsite and delivered via semi trucks. Over a couple hours, the crane lifted the spans and set them in place. The design of this new bridge was inspired by the impressive historic bridges along the Historic Highway. The bridge will include decorative concrete rail and art deco inspired bridge piers.
The rock bolting along the trail is now complete and the rock mesh has been installed. There was a cost savings in the project with the elimination of the soldier pile wall.
Nearly the full length of the trail has been paved. Throughout the winter the construction crew will work towards installing railings and completing wall construction. The final step will be to extend the trail underneath the westbound lane of I-84 to connect with the existing Moffett Creek to Cascade Locks trail. This is a challenging section as a complicated wall system will be constructed to maneuver past some steep terrain allowing the trail to "pop" out adjacent to the historic Moffett Creek Bridge.
ODOT is working with the Caswell Gallery and Foundry to develop trail medallions that indicate the location of the original HCRH alignment as well as a bridge plate to commemorate the bridge design. A “Bridging the Gap" celebration was held on August 27 to showcase the newly installed bridge and attended by many elected officials and congressional representatives.
Once construction of this 1.6 mile trail is complete in summer 2013, cyclists and pedestrians will no longer be forced to travel on the shoulder of I-84 between Troutdale and Cascade Locks. Below are some construction photos.
Sharing with Salamanders
During construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, ODOT contractors and engineers have had an eye out for a mysterious creature--the elusive Larch Mountain Salamander. They have a new found appreciation for this salamander species, unique to the Gorge. This understanding has resulted in changes to some construction techniques benefiting these sensitive creatures.
Larch Mountain Salamanders thrive in the talus, rocky slopes and forested slopes of the Columbia River Gorge. They are found on both sides of the Columbia River. In the summer and winter, the salamanders retreat into deep rock crevices beneath the rocks. However once the rain and cool nights return in spring and autumn they become active at the surface. After heavy rains in March and April, before construction began each day, the ODOT inspectors would walk the construction access roads looking for the 4 inch salamanders. Whenever they found one, they carefully moved it out of the way of equipment.
Trail construction through the rocky talus slope areas is scheduled to happen in the heat of July when the salamanders are deep underground. The trail will be constructed primarily over the existing ground to allow the salamanders to migrate back and forth through the rocky substrates beneath the trail. ODOT's goal is to avoid the salamander habitat and if necessary minimize any impacts the trail construction project might have and even enhance salamander habitats whenever possible.
Crown Point Viaduct
This Forest Highway Enhancement and Transportation Enhancement project will restore the sidewalk viaduct around Crown Point. Construction is expected in 2012.
This Forest Highway Enhancement project will enhance the upper and lower viewpoints of Latourell Falls. Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will design and construct this project.
This Forest Highway Enhancement project will upgrade the ends of the Return Trail between Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area office of USDA Forest Service will design and construct this project.