Railroad Bridge

RR Bridge walkers

The historic trestle of the Railroad Bridge is a beautiful structure. Yesterday I showed you the damaged portion, part of the bridge that extends west from the trestle. This is the main bridge. It has pilings driven deep into the river substrate that are buffered by concrete. Supports for the damaged part of the bridge are not as deep and robust.

RR Bridge X

This portion of the bridge also has strong, towering support above…which, of course, is eye candy for anyone looking for strong geometry.

RR Bridge trestle

This is a longer view of the trestle.

The bridge transits the Dungeness River which drops down from the Olympic Mountains in a steep 7,300 foot fall over 32 miles. It is the second steepest river in the United States.

The broken bridge

Broken bridge

Early this month flood debris damaged the western part of the Railroad Bridge, a popular link in the Olympic Discovery Trail. For a couple of weeks the entire bridge was closed, although the landmark railroad trestle portion of the bridge is intact. Then fencing was constructed at either end of the damaged span to allow viewing and walking on the eastern trestle. Vandals promptly destroyed the fencing, which was quickly replaced. Yesterday I peered through the new fencing (which now has video monitoring) to catch this shot of the broken portion of the bridge.

Debris field

Here’s the debris field just upstream of the bridge. It’s not hard to see how the bridge was undermined. This portion of the river, also, had been a secondary flow. In the course of the flooding the river channel shifted to flow more vigorously under this western side of the bridge.

The Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, which owns the bridge, plans to redesign, repair and reopen it. As you can see, they have their work cut out for them and there’s no estimate yet on how long this will take. In the meantime, trail users are detoured around this stretch of the Olympic Discovery Trail.

Tomorrow I’ll show you the undamaged portion of the bridge.