BNSF completes 113-year-old Drano Bridge replacement

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Aerial view of new bridge on a barge, ready for installation

BNSF’s line through the Columbia River Gorge has just received a new bridge, located where the river meets Drano Lake at the coast of southern Washington, according to The Columbian. The original bridge was 113 years old, and was part of a predecessor line that is now BNSF.

Ground level view of bridge being prepared for installation.

BNSF replaced a bridge in 2019 that is seven miles west of Drano Lake at Home Valley, and one in 2017 in Camus at the Washougal River. The Drano Lake bridge cost about $15 million.

Drano Bridge floating down the Columbia River.

While railroad bridges are usually built at the site where they will be erected, the Drano Lake and Home Valley bridges were built differently. Both were built at a remote location, then floated down the river to their permanent locations.

New Drano Bridge at installation site.

After the Drano bridge was completed, it was placed on a barge in the Columbia River and moved to Vancouver, then up the Columbia River where workers made the bridge ready for placement at Drano Lake.

The time frame for installing the new bridge was 36 hours, and the work was completed within those hours.

All photos courtesy of BNSF.

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