The Abandoned Willapa River Bridge
— User Comments —
What was the weight capacity of this bridge, and when and how was it manned by a bridge tender?
Hi, Back in the 1950' this the bridge was manned for at least 1 shift by Jake Holton. Jake was my dad's best friend, and he my dad and I actually went up and sat with Jake while he did his job. It was quite scary for a five year old to walk the "cat walk" climb the stairs etc. but dad was right there helping me along and making sure I was safe. My dad is George Butz. I was there recently and 2/16/13 and someone had started the engine, we could clearly see smoke coming from the stack, I have no Idea why but evidentially it still runs, maybe just to correct it's position, but it runs.
If you look at the satellite photos you can see that the right-of-way that ran over the bridge is part of "Willapa Hills Trail". No doubt a rails to trails type situation. It connects Raymond with Chehalis.
At the point of the satellite image, the Willapa Hills Trail diverts from the old roadbed as there's no method of crossing the South Fork at that point. It runs 'on' [sidewalk and bridge] and beside US 101 from the junction of WA 6 and US 101 over to the 'bend' where it again resumes the roadbed into South Bend, the actual terminus of the trail.
If the positioning motor worked in 2013 I would assume it might be able to be restored and run back to its crossing position? I heard that it was left open for a boat user that is no longer present in that slip. If this is true might we be able to close the span and complete the Trail with a unique and one of a kind historical bridge once again? One can dream I suppose.