Ten thousand vehicles a day strained the limits of the Pasco Kennewick Bridge when local leaders met with Governor Langlie in July, 1949 to present their case for a second crossing. The state highway department released a design sketch of the proposed bridge in March 1950 but no funds were available for construction until the 1951 legislature authorized a $66,000,000 bond issue for highway projects.
A $3,000,000 contract for piers and approach work was awarded to Jarvis/Austin/Cascade, a joint venture, on August 14, 1951. The first pier’s concrete pour was completed in eight hours on December 13th. The last of 13 piers was finished in January 1953. The 2521 foot steel superstructure was fabricated and erected by the American Bridge Division of United States Steel at a cost of $3,000,000. The ten million pound cantilever arch began to rise from the piers in April 1953 and was completed in February 1954. Final touches such as lights, paint and paving of the 66 foot roadway brought the total cost of the crossing to just under $7,000,000. The bridge was opened on July 30, 1954.
The design of the Blue Bridge is only slightly different from that of George Stevens’ award winning George Sellars Bridge at Wenatchee. The great trussed arch does not extend below the roadway to meet the piers and the approaches are supported by plate girder spans rather than trusses but a quick glance at the two bridges leaves one with an impression of sameness.