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Broadway Bridge

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Portland, OR 97227, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Broadway Bridge during the evening to catch a breathtaking view of the sunset over the Willamette River; it's a photographer's dream and much less crowded than other viewing spots in the city. Also, time your visit when a large ship is passing underneath—the bridge's unique lifting mechanism is a spectacle in action and offers a glimpse into Portland's industrial elegance."

What is Broadway Bridge?

Imbued with a rich patina of history and a dynamic present, the Broadway Bridge is more than just a utilitarian crossing for the bustling city of Portland. It's a drawbridge, indeed a grand Rall-type bascule bridge, that spans across the Willamette River. You've seen bridges, but what sets this Portlandian icon apart is its elegance and its rusty-red color, which locals fondly refer to as 'Broadway Red.' The bridge connects the northeast and northwest quadrants of the city, serving as a critical artery for vehicular traffic, cyclists, pedestrians, and the occasional streetcar that trundles by. Have you ever experienced the anticipation of waiting for a towering ship to pass as the bridge lifts right before your eyes? It's quite a sight, I must say.

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History of Broadway Bridge

Let me take you back to the early 20th century. Completed in 1913, the Broadway Bridge was designed by renowned engineer Ralph Modjeski. It was an era that demanded innovation, and Modjeski delivered with the longest span of its type at that time. Did you know this piece of history was also about breaking records? Over 200 feet of its length could literally rise up to let ships pass through, and it held the title of the longest bascule bridge in the world at its inauguration. Its construction was pivotal in shaping the industrial and commercial landscape of Portland by providing an efficient transit route that helped the city to grow and prosper.

Why is Broadway Bridge Important?

The Broadway Bridge isn't just about its steel and rivets. Its importance lies in its role as a central connector in the city's life. It gracefully brings together communities, offering a common thread that knits the urban fabric of Portland. The bridge has weathered socio-economic changes, technological advancements, and the undeniable forces of nature. Yet, it stands resilient, facilitating more than 30,000 daily crossings. It's the kind of place that teems with stories. Just beneath its surface, there's a narrative of every commuter, every visiting sailor, and perhaps, even a few starry-eyed lovers who walked its length, whispering secrets into Portland's breezy nights. Ever considered the tales that silent structures could tell if they had the voice to do so?

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Things to Do & See at Broadway Bridge

Any local will tell you that a mere crossing of the Broadway Bridge doesn't suffice; you ought to experience it. Start with a leisurely walk or bike ride across the bridge for panoramic views of the Willamette River—the gentle flow of water juxtaposed against the city skyline is quite the treat. If you time it right, you might catch the bridge opening, a mechanical ballet of gears and counterweights in action. Now, here's a lesser-known gem: during the Portland Rose Festival, you can see the fleet of navy ships gliding underneath. It's a majestic procession beneath your feet.

  • Rose City Photo Opportunities: Grab your camera and catch the sunrise or sunset painting the sky shades you can't find in any palette. Those 'Broadway Red' trusses make a striking silhouette against the pastel heavens.
  • Cycling Adventures: Join the enthusiastic local biking community for a riverside ride and feel the pulse of Portland under your wheels.
  • Waterfront Events: The banks of the Willamette often host events and festivals, offering a cultural buffet you can indulge in after exploring the bridge.

And remember, while the bridge itself is a sight to behold, its promise of connection means that delight doesn't end at its edges. It's a gateway to the distinct quadrants of the city with their unique eateries, boutiques, and breweries. So, take a pause and take it all in—the Broadway Bridge is not just a crossing; it's a journey.

Frequently asked questions

What is the Broadway Bridge in Portland?

The Broadway Bridge is a significant historical bridge in Portland, Oregon, that spans the Willamette River. Known for its distinctive red color and Rall-type bascule drawbridge design, it connects the Northeast and Northwest quadrants of the city.

When was the Broadway Bridge built?

The Broadway Bridge was opened to the public on April 22, 1913. It has since undergone various renovations and updates to maintain its structure and operations.

How long is the Broadway Bridge?

The Broadway Bridge measures approximately 1,742 feet in total length, making it one of the longer bridges that cross the Willamette River in Portland.

Can pedestrians and cyclists use the Broadway Bridge?

Yes, the Broadway Bridge accommodates pedestrian and bicyclist traffic alongside vehicles. It has sidewalks on both sides of the roadway, enabling safe passage across the river.

Is there a toll to cross the Broadway Bridge?

No, there is no toll to cross the Broadway Bridge. It is free for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles to use at any time.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Portland, OR 97227, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps