Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Scenic Byway
The National Scenic Byways Program is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration. The program is a
collaborative effort established to help recognize, preserve and enhance selected roads throughout the United States. Since 1992, the National Scenic Byways Program has provided funding for almost 1500 state and nationally designated byway projects in 48 states (including Oregon). The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as All-American Roads or National Scenic Byways based on one or more archeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational and scenic qualities.
The Cottage Grove Covered Bridge Byway was established DOT in March 2000.
Cottage Grove is considered and proclaimed as the covered bridge capital of Oregon.
Why a covered bridge? There a few reasons. The Cottage Grove area is rich with wood as a natural resource. Rather than using steal and steel workers, which were not abundant in the region, locals built their bridges of wood. Covering a bridge made of wood with side walls and a roof helped to preserve the structure and increase its life. Another nice feature of a covered bridge was that allowed travelers a place to take shelter from the weather in during rainy season.
What does a Covered Bridge Cost? Bridges built in the 1920ís ran in the neighborhood of $44 per span foot to build while the Dorena Bridge built 1949 cost over $157 per span foot reflecting a nearly 10% inflation rate per annum for bridge construction costs. This 29 year period took in the Great Depression and the Second World War.
The Dorena Lake Cottage Grove area has seven covered bridges whose original construction dates range from 1920 to the most recently constructed Centennial Bridge which was built at the west end of downtown Cottage Grove in 1997.
The Centennial Bridge was constructed with a Howe
truss design through community effort in time to celebrate the 100th
anniversary of the town. Materials were recovered from two other bridges
taken down in the Lane County area and then used to build this
pedestrian only bridge. The city also placed a time capsule near this
site and there is a pioneer memorial just across main to the south.
The railroads needed to cross the coast fork of the Willamette River so in 1925 J.E. Chambers built what is known as the Chambers Railroad Bridge for rail service to his lumber mill which suffered fires in both 1925 and 1951. The bridge to this day is still privately owned and open to neither pedestrian nor vehicle traffic.
One of the oldest bridges in the Lane County area, the Currin Bridge spans 105 feet over the Row River. Constructed in 1925 and restored in the mid 1950s this bridge stands on the site of a bridge built in 1883. This bridge is not open to motor vehicles. But pedestrians are welcome.
County records indicate that The Mosby Creek Bridge is the oldest covered bridge in Lane County. It is still used today. It is a one vehicle at a time Bridge.
It is named after a prominent farmer who staked a sizeable donation land claim in the area in the mid 1850s. The bridge was restored most recently in 1990.
Site of a popular swimming hole, the Stewart Bridge remained open to vehicle traffic until the early 1980s when high waters and debris damaged beyond safe limits. The bridges span is 60 feet and it was originally constructed in 1930 and then restored in 1996.
Dorena Lake was opened in 1950 with the completion of a dam across the Row River in a location about six miles east of Cottage Grove Or. In order to fill the Lake the small town of Dorena had to be relocated upstream to the east. With this, the Dorena Bridge was built so residents of the new Dorena could cross the Row River to move back and forth to Cottage Grove, the nearest center of commerce. This bridge can be driven across it has a rest room facility, plenty of parking and is jumping in point for river play.
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