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Construction begins on 1.3 mile section of Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail


hwy-path-trailheadrawing
(Image: ODOT)

2016 will be a big year for the Historic Columbia River Highway. The legendary road was a scenic precursor to Interstate 84 when it opened 100 years ago, but it fell into disrepair and was largely forgotten until the past decade or so when an effort to rebuild it as a (mostly) walking and biking path took hold. Proponents of the highway hoped to have all 73 miles of the original route from Troutdale to The Dalles completed by this year in time for a big centennial celebration. While they’re about 10 miles short of their goal, the celebration will still happen and there’s more progress this month as construction begins on a new 1.3-mile section of the trail.

The new section of trail starts about seven miles west of Hood River and will go from Lindsey Creek to the Starvation Creek trailhead. The new path will be paved and the project includes a 50-foot bridge, a waterfall viewing area, trailhead improvements at Starvation creek, and more.

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Looking east along I-84.
(Photo: ODOT)

This part of the project should be completed by late September of this year.

As the Historic Highway becomes ever so closer to completion, the most challenging sections remain unfunded and unplanned: getting through Mitchell Point and around Shellrock Mountain. Those final five miles are estimated to cost over $30 million and could require a tunnel and rock-blasting to punch the path through to Hood River.

You can get involved with this project through the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway and get project updates and more information at HistoricHighwayStateTrail.org.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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