Here’s the original blueprint (sheet 1) for the Oregon Washington Bridge Company’s “Waukoma Interstate Bridge” as drawn in August 1923.  We know that shortly before the bridge opened to traffic on December 6, 1924 the name was changed to “Hood River White Salmon Interstate Bridge” to help promote local tourism.  This drawing shows the original alignment which took a sharp left turn approaching the White Salmon end as it descended to a landing which was flooded by the Bonneville Pool in the late 1930s.

The bridge was reconstructed with new approaches and a lift mechanism for the main span between 1937 and 1940.  The White Salmon approach was straightened out and the grade reduced by landing at a higher point to intersect SR14.  The wood decking was also replaced with open steel decking.  The bridge structure has largely been unchanged since then.

Current bridge replacement plans would see a new bridge constructed just west of this bridge between 2025 and 2029, with this bridge removed by 2031.

The name “Waukoma” (or Waucoma) has been claimed to be the Native American name for this place, but the evidence is thin.  I have been researching this for another post, so let me know if you have any definitive sources.  The most specific source I could find refers to a discussion between members of the Lewis and Clark party and local Natives, but nothing I can find in the Lewis and Clark archives indicates any such contact.

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