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BNSF - Snake River Bridge


Photo taken by Douglas Butler


BH Photo #261374


Street View 


Vertical lift bridge over Snake River on Burlington Northern - Santa Fe Railroad
Burbank, Franklin County, Washington, and Walla Walla County, Washington
Open to traffic
1884 Built, Rehab.-Modifications 1950's
- BNSF Railway (BNSF)
Vertical Lift with three Pratt through truss, two Warren through truss and a single steel girder approach spans.
Length of largest span: 380.0 ft.
Total length: 1,575.0 ft.
Deck width: 12.0 ft.
Also called
Pasco-Burbank Railroad Bridge
Snake River Railroad Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+46.20711, -119.03038   (decimal degrees)
46°12'26" N, 119°01'49" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/343372/5119063 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 51774 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 30, 2015: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • May 15, 2014: New Street View added by Luke Harden
  • October 8, 2013: New photo from Douglas Butler
  • March 21, 2012: Added by Michael Goff


  • Mike Goff - michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Douglas Butler
  • Luke


BNSF - Snake River Bridge
Posted August 24, 2017, by Jan Weihmann (weihmann [at] wavecable [dot] com)

I was going through my grandma's (Katie Wardrip b:1886) cards and letters, and came across this postcard of the construction of the railroad bridge, dated 1913.

I have a number of postcards with date stamps placing grandma Katie in Leahy Washington (1907), in Mansfield (1911-1913), Spokane (1915), and finally in Waitsburg in 1916, where the rest of her family lived.

BNSF - Snake River Bridge
Posted May 19, 2014, by M. Goff (michael [dot] goff [at] hotmail [dot] com)

The original bridge was built in the late 1880's on the current foundations. A pattern I have noticed throughout the northwest is that the trusses may have been replaced in the 1910s or 1920s but I cannot confirm or deny this happened here. The approach spans may in fact date from the original construction.

However, I am quite certain that the bridge was modified and the vertical lift span was added in preparation for the construction of McNary Dam a few miles downstream on the Columbia River in the 1950's.

The dams on the lower Columbia and Snake Rivers opened shipping all the way inland to Lewiston Idaho and any bridges that were already built across the river during this time were modified to accommodate the tug boats and barges going up and down the rivers. A few examples of this can be seen downstream from this location. The Bridge of the Gods was raised multiple feet to allow for shipping and the Celilo Railroad Bridge and the Hood River Bridge had vertical lift spans installed.

The date on this bridge may a little fuzzy. However, I believe this has shed some light as to what is on here. I found these dates and other information in an article about the bridge but cannot seem to find the article I referenced the dates from at this moment. Also, keep in mind I have never visited the site to confirm any of the dates on such things as plaques or portal frames.

BNSF - Snake River Bridge
Posted May 15, 2014, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

There is no way this bridge was built in 1884. Vertical lifts of this style were not really built before 1894. I am thinking this bridge was actually replaced in the 1950s, since someone noted that date on this page.