October 27, 2022

After five months of construction, Multnomah County has successfully replaced the deteriorating timber bridge over Latourell Creek in the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The new crossing will provide safer access for the Latourell community and sustainable features to help the environment.

The new concrete bridge on N.E. Latourell Road is five feet wider and 16 feet longer than the previous crossing. This makes it easier for both lanes of traffic to use the bridge at the same time. The bridge was also built a foot higher above Latourell Creek to help avoid flooding.

The $2.6 million project was funded through the State Funded Local Projects program, which trades federal dollars for state funds on projects selected under Oregon Department of Transportation or Transportation Management Area federal funding programs.

“I’m really proud of the project team for how they coordinated with the contractor and finished this project not only on time but on budget,” Project Manager Sara Jeffrey said. 

A stunning backdrop of forest greenery frames the new bridge, which connects a small community of homes near N.E.Latourell Road. Jeffrey says new brown-painted guardrails on the bridge are made of timber and steel to look more natural and blend into the environment. 

“It feels great to complete Latourell Road, Columbia River Gorge this project and replace the existing bridge that was aging, with a new one that’s much safer,” Jeffrey said. “I grew up hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and love it out there. I’m proud to have led a project in such a pretty area.”

The project focused not only on safety upgrades, but also on giving back to the natural landscape and being environmentally conscious. Crews began construction within the creek July 15, due to what’s known as the in-water work window, which is a timetable set by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife of when crews can work in waterways and not disrupt fish and wildlife.

Crews planted nearly 60 trees and more than 600 plants around the bridge to help some of the forest grow back after construction.

I am extremely proud of our project team for completing this bridge on time and on budget,” Commissioner Lori Stegmann said. “This new bridge blends seamlessly into the surrounding environment and will provide the Latourell community with a consistent and safe second access route that is less prone to flooding.”

Crews also installed a stormwater filter adjacent to the bridge. This new filter treats runoff from the street before it goes back into the creek. 

From left: Granite Project Manager, Mark Braaten, Granite Project Engineer, Jacqueline Pape, County Inspector, Phillip Ledbury, Parametrix Project Manager, Steve Katko, Commissioner, Lori Stegmann, County Project Manager Sara Jeffrey