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Blue Bridge


All spans

Photo taken by Karl Sweitzer


BH Photo #143429


Street View 


Tricitians have called the second highway crossing on the Columbia between Pasco and Kennewick span “The Blue Bridge” for so long that few residents can recall that when it opened in 1954 it was officially dedicated as the Pioneer Memorial Bridge or that it initially bore a coat of green paint.

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.


Steel through arch bridge over Columbia River on US 395 in Kennewick
Pasco, Benton County, Washington, and Franklin County, Washington
Open to traffic
Built 1954; rehabilitated 1986
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Steel Fabrication)
- Cascade Construction Co. of Portland, Oregon (Contractor)
- George Stevens (Bridge Engineer)
- Paul Jarvis Inc. (Contractor)
- Robert W. Austin Co. (Contractor)
Steel through arch
Length of largest span: 520.0 ft.
Total length: 2,521.1 ft. (0.5 mi.)
Deck width: 63.3 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 18.3 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Pioneer Memorial Bridge (official name)
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.22511, -119.13566   (decimal degrees)
46°13'30" N, 119°08'08" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/335304/5121275 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
Inventory number
BH 34141 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2018)
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: 61.8 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • July 29, 2021: New photo from Patrick Gurwell
  • July 22, 2020: New photo from Patrick Gurwell
  • August 29, 2019: New photos from Mike Garland
  • April 19, 2018: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical info to description
  • April 1, 2018: New photos from Richard Doody
  • May 10, 2015: New photo from C Hanchey
  • May 15, 2014: Updated by Nathan Holth: Fixed GPS.
  • July 12, 2012: Updated by Nathan Holth: Changed fabricator from USS to American Bridge (All American Bridge bridges are assumed to be USS)
  • December 13, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • September 30, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: Adjusted Design Category.
  • July 24, 2009: New photos from Karl Sweitzer

Related Bridges 


  • Karl Sweitzer - kesc [at] pacbell [dot] net
  • Nathan Holth
  • WSDOT Traffic Camera - Live traffic camera looking on to the bridge
  • Wikipedia - Blue Bridge
  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Richard Doody
  • Mike Garland - Rapier342 [at] comcast [dot] net
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com