Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tanner Creek Viaduct

Most of my posts here come about because I see an obscure thing on an obscure list of obscure things, and I suspect it might be photogenic or otherwise blogworthy. It goes on a todo list, and eventually I go track it down and take a few photos. Other times I see something on a list and realize I already have a photo or two of it lying around, which is what happened this time. So here's an April 2006 photo of the Union Pacific Tanner Creek Viaduct, which carries the railroad around Bonneville Dam and over Tanner Creek, the the same stream that flows over Wahclella Falls a short hike upstream from here.

The Tanner Creek viaduct was built in 1935 due to construction of the dam; the Union Pacific tracks were rerouted, on a stretch from a mile west of Bonneville east to Cascade Locks, at a cost of $976,300, roughly $16.7 million in 2014 dollars. That article was from March 1935, and it noted contractors were scrambling to get the job done as quickly as possible.

The viaduct was projected to be done by July 1935, and completion was announced on June 23rd, complete with a construction photo. The final bridge was 865 feet long, and cost $225,000. (For what it's worth, the general contractor on the project was a firm called "Orino, Bell & Malcolm", with the viaduct subcontracted to "Birkemeier & Saremal". I'm not familiar with either of those companies -- although the latter apparently worked on the early 1940s Front Avenue/Harbor Drive project we mostly tore out in the 70s -- but I rather like the design of this viaduct so I'm kind of filing them away for future reference. Mostly in case they've done any other bridges that are worth tracking down at some point.)

1 comment :

Tim McLaughlin said...

The Birkemeier in "Birkemeier & Saremal" was my great uncle Dan Birkemeier, the brother of my paternal grandmother. He was the contractor for many structures in the Portland metro area, including Molalla High School (the building that suffered seismic damage and was recently replaced), several of the North Portland I-5 overpasses, a Presbyterian church in SE Portland, bridges along the Oregon coast...but I'd have to consult my notes and my 91-year-old father for more details. --Tim McLaughlin