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Snake River Bridge (1939)


Portal View.

Photo From WSDOT State Route Web


BH Photo #190319

Street View 


The Snake River Interstate Bridge was constructed by the Puget Sound Construction Company at a cost of $750,000. The designers of this, the first vertical lift drawbridge to be built in the inland northwest, had to accommodate the needs of the sternwheel steamers the Union Pacific Railroad was still operating on the river and looked forward to the day when a series of dams and locks would make Lewiston and Clarkston year round seaports. Governor Bottolfsen of Idaho and Washington Highway Commissioner Lacey V. Murrow presided at the formal dedication of the new span on Memorial Day 1939.

Six months after the new bridge opened the railroad successfully petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission for permission to end the unprofitable riverboat service. The Lewiston II steamed under the drawspan for the last time on February 19, 1940. The drawspan rose only twice during the next three decades. Tests conducted in 1950 and 51 caused lengthy traffic jams when the machinery operating the lift mechanism failed forcing the operators to spend hours lowering the span manually. The dams and locks on the Snake were completed in 1975 but by that time the port facilities had been moved up river and an operable drawspan was no longer needed.


Vertical lift bridge over Snake River on US 12 in Clarkston
Lewiston, Asotin County, Washington, and Nez Perce County, Idaho
Open to traffic
Built 1939
- Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Co. of Seattle, Washington
Vertical lifting polygon Warren with verticals. Warren with vertical near approach spans and arched concrete beam stringer more distant approach spans
Length of largest span: 200.1 ft.
Total length: 1,432.2 ft.
Deck width: 40.0 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.4 ft.
Also called
Interstate Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.42060, -117.03517   (decimal degrees)
46°25'14" N, 117°02'07" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/497438/5140714 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
700 ft. above sea level
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory number
BH 34138 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2017)
Overall condition: Fair
Superstructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Satisfactory (6 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 57 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • October 16, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • May 5, 2019: New photos from Leslie R Trick
  • September 9, 2018: Updated by Fmiser: Expanded design description
  • April 19, 2018: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info to description
  • April 15, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • August 13, 2016: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • December 7, 2015: New Street View added by Douglas Butler
  • August 29, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • September 20, 2011: New photos from Michael Goff
  • December 14, 2010: New photos from Nathan Holth
  • March 22, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Added Street View.

Related Bridges 


  • Nathan Holth
  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Richard Doody
  • Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Leslie R Trick - Leslie [dot] Trick [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


Snake River Bridge
Posted July 6, 2021, by Tim (bootccat [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This bridge is listed as non-operational, but in fact it is operational and in use. It opens for boats as needed. See video of bridge opening. https://youtu.be/ssAbhzUL9I4