Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The New Elwha River Bridge

About seven or eight miles west of Port Angeles, depending on which route you take, we used to have a pretty rickety old one-lane bridge known as the "Elwha Bridge" or "Lower Elwha Bridge."   Since the road wasn't a main highway,  and the bridge wasn't expected to carry much traffic, it seemed good enough to most of us. 

Highway 112 already had a big wide span over the Elwha about a half mile south, and Highway 101 had another older but perfectly serviceable 2-lane bridge across the Elwha another couple miles south of that.  This old wooden thing was sort of a neighborhood bridge.   A lot of locals probably didn't even know it was there.  Those who did mostly thought it was rather charming.
(They don't make 'em like this anymore.)

I don't know if the local biking community, or the Olympic Trails Coalition had anything to do with it, but the bridge with which they replaced the old one-lane wooden span is pretty impressive.
You'll notice it's actually two bridges, one stacked stacked on top of the other:  one up top for cars and trucks and dumb stuff like that, and the real one down below for bikers and hikers, dog walkers, horses, etc.  I've even seen a guy in a wheelchair there.   He asked me if I wanted to race.  I was on my Wal*Mart Mongoose at the time (long story), so he just might have beaten me.

Those two yellow posts mean you're not supposed to drive your 18-wheeler on this part of the bridge, that stuff goes on upstairs.  You could, however, squeeze your Big Dummy through there, if you're careful.

The new Elwha River Bridge even has an official name:  The New Elwha River Bridge.

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