Historic Columbia River Highway


Constructed between 1913 and 1922, the highway was a technical achievement of its time, successfully marrying ambitious engineering with sensitive treatment of the surrounding landscape. The original design protocol included accepting grades no greater than 5 percent and curves with no less than a 100-foot turning radius. More popular than originally envisioned, the route rapidly deteriorated, and the Oregon State Highway Department began abandoning segments of the highway in the late 1930s. By 1954, a new, curvilinear, water-level route bypassed the entire highway. The state is now restoring the highway to its original 1922 appearance.

Activity Details

Activity Type:Trips and Destinations
Discipline:Other
Topic(s):Space/Transportation
Grade:K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Time:Full day

Fun Fact:The historic highway is the oldest scenic highway in the U.S. and the first major paved highway in the Pacific Northwest. It was surfaced with Warrenite, a patented, long-wearing, and smooth-riding asphaltic-concrete pavement.
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