ODOT Moving Ahead - April 2011

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said Bridge Engineer Bob Grubbs. “The repairs are only designed to maintain the current capacity.” Steers added that the low traffic volume on the Old Siskiyou Highway doesn’t warrant the need for a larger repair or replacement project. The project’s overall budget is $955,000. Transportation history The cost to construct these two bridges was shared by the state, Jackson County and the Southern Pacific Railroad. “Jackson County was proactive in tapping the state’s engineering expertise to design the bridges for consistency and state funding,” said Historian Christopher Bell. “The State Highway Department was looking for an opportunity to provide technical oversight.” Built by prime contractor J.W. Sweeney, the Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings have a storied place in Oregon’s transportation history.

The book states the Dollarhide Overcrossing was built for a cost of $5,900. According to Bell, a lot of drama was associated with the construction and the project ran into cost overruns ultimately resolved in court. However, the rough beginnings didn’t detour the State Highway Department. “The Dollarhide and Steinman Overcrossings started the department’s work on US 99. The Department was also beginning to focus on another well known roadway, the Columbia River Highway,” Bell said. From it’s inception, the state highway department was interested in building a modern road network around Oregon.”

Built in 1914, the Dollarhide bridge’s skewed design allows for both the crossing of the railroad and curvature of the highway.

Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon, by Dwight A Smith, James B. Norman, and Pieter T. Tykman, notes the “[Steinman Overcrossing] is the only known switchback on Oregon’s highway system where the roadway passes both under and over the structure.”

The Bureau of Public Roads, a precursor to the Federal Highway Administration, was concerned about bridge construction. Oregon understood the need and the value, so the department focused on safety and consistency in bridge construction.

When first constructed, old Pacific Highway was unpaved in this section as it crossed both the highway and the Southern Pacific tracks. Up until the late 1920s, this was the main railroad route on the West Coast.

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April 1, 2011

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