Since its creation in 1987, the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee has guided restoration projects on drivable portions of the historic highway. This group of dedicated private citizens and agency personnel have also served a key role in developing rehabilitation projects on formerly abandoned portions of the original alignment to become segments in the HCRH State Trail.
|Horsetail Falls. This natural attraction is a short distance from Multnomah Falls and is one of scores of falls that cascade over steep basalt formations along the HCRH in the Columbia River Gorge between Vista House and Dodson. In 1998, ODOT used a carbon-fiber fabric to strengthen a failing deck beam. The non-intrusive and inexpensive procedure preserved the stricture's original integrity and enables it to carry normal traffic loads on the HCRH. (Photo by Cross and Dimmitt, c.1920)
The Oregon Department of Transportation has relied on several funding sources to carry out restoration, rehabilitation, and interpretation activities on the Highway. These include Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act Enhancement funds, Forest Highway funds, Public Lands Highway Discretionary funds, and Oregon Economic Development Department Regional Strategies funds. The agency has also found support through money authorized by the CRGNSA Act, from local agencies, and from anonymous private donors. Jeanette B. Kloos, ODOT's Scenic Area Coordinator and the Advisory Committee's key staff member, has been instrumental in developing the projects and seeking funding to construct them.
Much of the design efforts involved in rehabilitating the Highway come from within ODOT. The agency's master mason, Richard Fix, carried out nearly all of the masonry wall and concrete rail restoration activities on the drivable portions of the HCRH. ODOT's engineers developed the steel-backed two-rail wooden guardrail and have undertaken much of the design work for rehabilitation projects on the HCRH State Trail segments, including the Toothrock Tunnel pedestrian bridge.
The Federal Highway Administration, Western Federal Lands Highway Division, oversaw design work for the Eagle Creek to Cascade Locks connection project. This included the Interstate 84 undercrossing tunnel and several new retaining walls. Landscape architect Bibi Gaston designed the new tunnel's masonry portals.
Gaston was also the prime contractor for the West Trailhead of the Hood River to Mosier section of the HCRH State Trail. Major subcontractors were KPFF Consulting Engineers, SRG Architects, and Quadrofoil, all of Portland.
For the rock catchment structures at Mosier Twin Tunnels, on the Hood River to Mosier section, ODOT relied on HNTB Consultants. Woodward-Clyde was a major subcontractor.
Architect Rob Dortignacq, of Portland, created the family of railing designs used on HCRH State Trail projects. These include the rails on the Toothrock Tunnel Bridge, new parapet walls, trailhead gates, and safety barriers in the Mosier Twin Tunnels.
Other contributors include the USDA Forest Service-Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area developed a vegetation management. The Forest Service's graphic signing system established the standard for all new signing in the CRGNSA. The agency took the lead in developing segmental arch-shaped thematic signs that have been placed along both sides of the Columbia River throughout the Scenic Area, including along the HCRH. Sea Reach Ltd. of Rose Lodge, Oregon, designed 31 interpretive panels recently placed along the HCRH. Finally, the Columbia River Gorge Commission, based in White Salmon, Washington, has been supportive of rehabilitation and interpretation projects on the Highway.
This case study was researched and prepared by Robert W. Hadlow, Ph.D., Senior Environmental Coordinator and Assistant Scenic Area Coordinator, Region 1, ODOT, in Portland. Hadlow was a historian on several Historic American Engineering Record summer research projects documenting historic road resources, including those on the HCRH.
Charles A. Birnbaum, FASLA, Coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative served as the general editor of this Current and also co-authored the annotated bibliography. Mark Oviatt, National Park Service Web Design and Content Manager, designed the Current. Other reviewers included NPS colleagues Kay D. Weeks and Paula Cook. The NPS appreciates the assistance of the Cultural Landscape Foundation Board members who have also spent time reviewing this document.
This publication has been prepared pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, which directs the Secretary of the Interior to develop and make available information concerning historic properties. Technical Preservation Services (TPS), Heritage Preservation Services Division, National Park Service prepares standards, guidelines, and other educational materials on responsible historic preservation treatments to a broad public.