New Rails, New Deck New life for Rock Point bridge

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The Rock Point Bridge was unveiled in 1920, a time when Oregon’s paved roads totaled only 620 miles and its designer, Conde B. McCullough, had barely settled in as Oregon’s state bridge engineer.

McCullough would later go on to leave a legacy of beautiful bridges along Oregon’s coast. Both his trademark aesthetics and efficient, custom-designed spans are present in the Rock Point Bridge.

McCullough illustrated how form could complement function and the nearby landscape. Using a reinforced concrete deck arch, he designed a 505-foot span bridge over one of the rockiest sections of the Rogue River, hence the name Rock Point.

According to Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon, construction was a challenge: “Because of the great depth of water at the bridge location, it was impossible to build falsework under the main arch span. The contractor (Parker and Banfield, Portland) solved the problem by building a temporary wood truss span over the bridge to give support to the forms.”

For more information about the rehabilitation work, visit the project web site:
www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/REGION3/234_rock_point_bridge.shtml.

 

Conde B. McCullough

Conde B. McCullough arrived in Oregon in 1916 to teach engineering at Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State University). A pioneer of the movement to create a well-planned American highway system, McCullough argued that bridges should be built efficiently, economically, and aesthetically. He became Oregon’s state bridge engineer in 1919. His legacy of beautiful bridges lives today and most of his bridges are considered significant landmarks.

Historical photographs of Oregon bridges are available online at the ODOT
History Center:  www.oregon.gov/ODOT/CS/BSS/historycenter.shtml.

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