From the north
Photo taken by Chris Patriarca in November 2010
BH Photo #194406
Named after Oregon businessman Simon Benson who provided the money for its construction, this footbridge is situated 105' above the lower Multnomah Falls.
- Concrete arch bridge over Lower Multnomah Falls on a pedestrian trail
- Multnomah County, Oregon
- Open to pedestrians
- Built 1914
- - Karl P. Billner (Design Engineer)
- Pacific Bridge Co. of Portland, Oregon (Prime Contractor)
- Robert Lee Ringer (Sub-Contractor)
- The Benson Bridge is a reinforced concrete deck arch bridge over Multnomah Creek between the two tiers of Multnomah Falls on the Multnomah Fall – Larch Mountain Trail. The 52-foot long structure consists of a single 45-foot parabolic open spandrel barrel arch span. The design of the main span is unique for bridges designed in Oregon. The main arch is reinforced with a built-up steel lattice frame similar to a built-up truss member, rather than traditional tied steel reinforcing bar. The spandrel columns and the rest of the concrete in the structure utilized the traditional reinforcing bar for concrete reinforcement.
Topping each of the spandrel columns on the Benson Bridge is a half elliptical spandrel curtain wall. The spandrel curtain walls complement the main arch span and create a seamless transition between the superstructure and the bridge’s deck and railing.
The 3.5-foot open balustrade railing that was utilized on many of the early structures on the Historic Columbia River Highway is another key feature on the Benson Bridge. The top of the balusters have quarter elliptical arches coming from each side of the baluster. When the balusters are placed side by side they create a series of small arches just under the rail cap that also accent the parabolic main span.
The bridge features a 5.8-feet wide deck that carries the Multnomah Falls Trail over the 69-foot lower falls in route to a view point at the top of the 542-foot tall main falls. The trail also connects to other popular hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge area.
The Benson Bridge was built as a supplemental part of the Historic Columbia River Highway project and designed by bridge designer Karl P. Billner under the guidance of Oregon State Bridge Engineer Charles H. Purcell and Assistant Highway Engineer Samuel Lancaster. The overall design lines and the architectural detailing is very similar to the nearby Shepperds Dell Bridge which was also designed by Billner and is located just a few miles west of Multnomah Falls.
Length of largest span: 45.0 ft.
Total length: 52.0 ft.
Deck width: 5.8 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on April 22, 1981
- Also called
- Multnomah Falls Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +45.57724, -122.11635 (decimal degrees)
45°34'38" N, 122°06'59" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 10/568942/5047457 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Multnomah Falls
- Inventory numbers
- NRHP 81000512 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 48289 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- September 23, 2016: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
- March 31, 2011: New photos from Michael Goff
- February 28, 2011: Updated by Michael Goff: Added design description
- February 28, 2011: New photo from Chris Patriarca
- February 28, 2011: New Street View added by Jason Smith
- February 27, 2011: Added by Chris Patriarca