Fremont Bridge Center Span, 1972

The component parts for the main span of the Fremont Bridge were built in California but the final assembly was done on Swan Island, as shown here. It would be lifted into place on March 16, 1973, connecting the east and west banks of the Willamette River. At the time it was the heaviest lift, at 6000 tons, ever completed, and it is the second longest tied arch bridge in the world. Here’s a photo of the east and west ramps under construction, before the center span lift.

(City of Portland Archives)

6 thoughts on “Fremont Bridge Center Span, 1972

  1. Thanks for sharing this. I remember being 8 years old and seeing the TV coverage of the center span being lifted. So exciting!

  2. I was there when it lifted off the barges and began its upward climb. It was amazing to see the many but rather small screw jacks they used lifting from the top down. Talk about smoking red hot!!

    The most exciting thing to see was a 4’x4′ timber fall off one barge and into the river. For that we had waited many hours. Oh well.

    A friend who recently passed was a bridge engineer crawling around inside the span looking for problems that might have occurred but didn’t.

  3. I got to watch the daily progress out my Fifth Grade window at Grout Elementary. Forever etched in my memory!

  4. This is the perfect site for anybody who wants to understand this topic. You realize a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been written about for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!

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