Building Distinct Concrete Bridges

Newly constructed bridges in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge area feature a Cascadian design with a rocklike façade imitating the columnar basalt in the surrounding hillsides.

10-ft-tall concrete pylons located at the ends of the I-5 bridges near Ashland, Ore., are topped by chevron designs reminiscent of those found on the historic 1925 Ashland Springs Hotel’s parapets.

On two replacement bridges in Canyonville, Ore., contractor Victory Builders carved concrete plaques of eagles, bears, and beavers, as well as a bridge facing that resembles a log to honor the local economy and Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians.

Pylons that flank the four corners of the Elk Creek Bridge, the main route in and out of Elkton, Ore., were created over the course of three days. Contractors used shotcrete, a sprayed-on form of concrete that is pliable as it dries, to form and carve the pylons. Once the concrete sets, color is added through a staining process.

All new OTIA III bridges in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area adhered to the I-84 Corridor Strategy design guidelines. To match their environment, the bridges either blend in with the dark, natural basalt found throughout the Pacific Northwest or reflect the lighter, dry landscape of the eastern Gorge, shown here at the Moffett Creek Bridge.

The Moffett Creek Bridge was one of eight bridges ODOT replaced along Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Incorporating extensive stakeholder feedback, the I-84 Corridor Strategy provided two bridge design options, including the one pictured here: a Cascadian design with a rocklike façade that imitates the columnar basalt in the surrounding hillsides.

More than 120 residents responded to an ODOT survey asking for input on four different designs for highway sound walls to be constructed adjacent to their neighborhoods. Respondents favored the sculpted concrete design because of its natural appearance and consistency with the surrounding geography.

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