The Beverly Bridge - the Columbia River Crossing
The spectacular Milwaukee Road trestle, or Beverly Bridge, spans the Columbia River and links the western half of the Palouse to Cascades Trail to the eastern half. Completed in 1909 and 1/2 mile long, the trestle was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Unfortunately, after the railroad abandoned the line, the trestle was been gated and closed due to safety concerns, bisecting the PTCT into two sections. Trail users who wanted to cross the Columbia River and Washington State were forced to arrange a shuttle or risk a dangerous crossing at the nearest highway bridge, the I-90 bridge at Vantage, which has neither a pedestrian walkway nor shoulder.
In May 2017, the historic and recreational value of the Beverly Bridge was recognized when the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation (WTHP) included the Beverly Bridge in their 2017 "most Endangered Historic Structures" designation (view video here). The national Rails-toTrail Conservancy also recognized the Beverly Bridge as an invaluable link in their vision of a Great American Rail Trail (see their video about the Beverly Bridge here).Engineers contracted by the WTHP assessed the condition of the bridge in 2018, and later that year, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee included rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge in his proposed state capital budget. Funding for the rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge was approved by the State Legislature in 2019, and rehabilitation work on the bridge commenced in 2020. On April 8, 2022, the Beverly Bridge was officially opened with several hundred people turning out for this historic event.Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the Grand Opening of the Beverly Bridge, April 8, 2022.The Mattawa High School marching band leads the procession across the Beverly Bridge for the Grand Opening, April 8, 2022.
The Bevery Bridge during construction in 1908, before Priest Rapids Dam and reservoir (Photo courtesy of Stoddard collection)
Decking on the west end of the Beverly Bridge
was destroyed by fire in 2014. Photo courtesy of Fred Wagner.