AKA: State of Washington, Department of Transportation (WSDOT), Lewis and Clark Bridge, Longview, WA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Strauss, Joseph, Civil Engineer (firm); Joseph Baermann Strauss (civil engineer)

Dates: constructed 1930

Longview, WA

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The renowned bridge designer, Joseph Strauss, designed this extensive bridge crossing the Columbia River between Rainier, OR and Longview, WA, completed in 1930 for a private company. It set new standards for height and length of a cantilevered steel bridge design for the time.

Building History

The noted Joseph Strauss (1870-1938), who would later gain fame as the engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge (1937) connecting San Francisco to Marin County, created the design for this 2,722-foot-long cantilever bridge spanning the Columbia River. At the time of its completion on 03/29/1930, it was the highest and longest cantilever bridge in the world. Built by a private corporation, the Longview Bridge as it was first known, was operated by this private group, the Longview Bridge Company, between 1930-1947, when the State of Washington purchased the span. A 1948 State of WA survey of the Longview Bridge done by bridge engineer Charles Andrews, noted that needed repairs and improvements to it would cost in total $3,650,000 in 30-year revenue bonds. These costs would include $1,400,000 for repairs and improvements and $2,250,000 for the bridge itself. This figure was agreed upon in 1949. (SeeUS Senate, Committee on Armed Services, Nomination of Mon C. Wallgren, February 17, 21, 24, 25, 1949, [Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1949], pp. 129-130.)

While under state operation, it continued to function as a toll bridge from 1947-1965, when the debt was retired.

The State of Washington renamed the bridge for explorers Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) and William Clark (1770-1838) in 1980.


The bridge's deck underwent replacement in 2003-2004; its construction cost reached $29.2 million.

National Register of Historic Places (July 16, 1982): 82004208 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 13591