The Union Street Railroad Bridge is a vertical lift, Pratt through truss bridge. The bridge has two towers that rise an additional 65 feet above the 35-foot tall structure of the bridge's trusses, a 134-foot-long center lift span, and a total length of 722 feet, excluding the 850-foot timber trestle on the western end. The bridge's five spans sit atop five concrete piers designed to rise 35 feet above mean low water, which was intended to hold the rails 5 feet above the highest possible flood waters. The lift span was designed to provide a 55-foot clearance during high water conditions. The lift span has been inoperable since 1980.
Regular service of passenger and freight trains ended in 1945. The date of the last train to cross the bridge is unknown but is believed to be in the early 1990s. The City of Salem acquired the bridge in 2003 from the Union Pacific Railroad (which absorbed Southern Pacific in 1996) for one dollar. The railroad set up a $550,000 fund for maintenance. A $3.2 million renovation and conversion project transformed it into a bicycle and pedestrian bridge linking Riverfront Park and downtown Salem on the east with Wallace Marine Park and West Salem on the west. The bridge reopened in April 2009.
Length of largest span: 134.0 ft.
Total length: 1,572.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 11, 2006
Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge
Willamette River Railroad Bridge
Salem Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.94692, -123.04134(decimal degrees) 44°56'49" N, 123°02'29" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
USGS topographic map
BH 43045 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
January 9, 2012: New photos from Michael Goff
April 25, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth