Noted as the longest bridge in Oregon and the longest “continuous truss" bridge in the world, the Astoria-Megler Bridge spans 1,232 feet and connects Oregon with Washington. The nearly four-mile structure largely floats on the river, apart from the main span near Astoria and a smaller one near the Washington Coast. It was criticized as a “bridge to nowhere" by detractors when its construction began in November 1962.
Spanning the mouth of the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon, to Megler, Washington, its construction was designed to withstand a harsh coastal environment utilizing pre-stressed concrete beam spans, set on concrete piers, and located as to avoid overloading the slide-prone Astoria Hills. The approach ramp runs counter-clockwise through a full 360 degrees, climbing almost 200 feet above mean low water. It was built to withstand gusts of wind at 150 miles per hour and to hold up under strong Pacific storms that occasionally batter the coast. With the river flood speed gauge of nine miles per hour, the concrete piers can take the abuse of whole trees that rush down the river by the raging water of the Columbia.
The toll for the road was removed in December 1993, two years ahead of schedule. Formally dedicated in August 1966, cars flocked to use the bridge with roughly 240,000 traveling from a small town to an empty shore within the last five months of that year which was what ODOT had predicted for all of that year. More than 1.6 million vehicles a year were crossing the “Bridge to Nowhere" by 1993, saving motorists drive time. It was the final link in the U.S. Highway 101 Mexico-to-Canada highway system chain that was once a ferry crossing from South to North.
Prior to the bridge, a ferry connected Astoria with the community of Megler on the Washington side, which has since largely disappeared.
One of Astoria's most popular events is the Great Columbia Crossing, 10K run across the bridge now scheduled for the second Sunday in each October.