Ralph W. Finke

of Olympia, Washington
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Ralph W. Finke was the State Bridge Engineer for the Washington State Department of Highways from the late 1930's until taking the post of Seattle City Engineer in 1948.

Finke oversaw the design of many of the notable spans over the Columbia River including the Kettle Falls Bridge and the Julia Butler Hansen Bridge. Finke was also in charge of the Jim Creek Bridge in Cowlitz County, one of a very few war time bridges built during World War II.

Later as Seattle City Engineer Finke was a key figure in the building of the Alaskan Way Viaduct along Elliott Bay in Seattle.

Bridge related patents filed by Ralph Finke:

Lift Bridge: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2198810.pdf

Bridge Cable Anchorage: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/2198809.pdf

Engineering History:

- Bridge Engineer, Washington State Department of Highways

- Seattle City Engineer (1948-1952)


Alaskan Way Viaduct (King County, Washington)
City Engineer - Seattle, 1953
Double-deck stringer bridge running parallel to Alaskan Way along Seattle waterfront
Demolished 2019

Fort Spokane Bridge (Lincoln County, Washington)
Bridge Engineer, 1941
Through truss bridge over Spokane River on WA 25 at Miles
Open to traffic

George Sellar Bridge (Chelan County, Washington)
Bridge Engineer - Design Phase, 1950
Steel arch and truss bridge over Columbia River on WA 285 in Wenatchee
Open to traffic

Grande Ronde River Bridge (Asotin County, Washington)
State Bridge Engineer, 1941
Steel stringer bridge over Grande Ronde River on WA 129
Open to traffic

Jim Creek Bridge (Cowlitz County, Washington)
Bridge Engineer, 1945
Concrete deck arch bridge over Jim Creek on WA 503
Open to traffic

Julia Butler Hansen Bridge (Wahkiakum County, Washington)
Bridge Engineer, 1939
Through truss bridge over Columbia River on WA 409
Open to traffic

Kettle Falls Bridge (Stevens County, Washington)
State Bridge Engineer, 1941
Through truss bridge over Columbia River on US 395
Open to traffic