The spectacular Milwaukee Road trestle, or Beverly Bridge, spanning the Columbia River, links the western half of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail to the eastern half. Completed in 1909 and 1/2 mile long, the trestle was registered on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. But unfortunately, due to safety concerns, the trestle is gated and closed, bisecting the JWPT into two sections. Trail users who want to cross the Columbia River and Washington State, are forced to arrange a shuttle or risk a dangerous crossing at the nearest bridge, the I-90 bridge at Vantage, which has neither a pedestrian walkway nor shoulder. Renovating the Beverly Bridge would allow nonmotorized access across the Columbia River where currently there is no safe non-motorized crossing for a distance of 130 miles (between Wenatchee and TriCities).
May 20, 2017. The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announced the recipients of their "2017 “Most Endangered Historic Structures”, and the Beverly Bridge, nominated by the Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail, was one of six historic structures to receive this designation. (Click here to view Washington Trust for Historic Preservation's video on 2017 Most Endangered Structures)The designation of “Most Endangered” brings recognition to important historical structures and attracts funding and grants for preservation. Renovation of this trestle will unite east and west sections of the JWPT, allowing non-motorized transportation across the Columbia River where there is none for a distance of over 100 miles. This is an important step forward toward renovation of the bridge.We wish to offer special thanks to those who worked on the application for this designation, in particular, our rail historian, Board Member Mark Borleske, who wrote an excellent history of the bridge, and to those who contributed editing and photography showcasing the bridge’s architecture and beauty.
And there's more good news for the Beverly Bridge:
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad (BNSF) plans to replace four of its historic railroad trestles along the Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge in Washington State. There is a Federal requirement that stipulates whenever historic structures (such as these trestles) are lost, compensation shall be received as a form of restitution for the loss. In this case, the restitution is spelled out in a Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, BNSF, and the Washington State Historic Preservation Officer.The agreement states that prior to any ground-breaking or demolition of the BNSF trestles, BNSF will provide the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation with $125,000 to be administered toward condition assessment and opinion of cost for rehabilitation for the Beverly Bridge as a non-motorized bridge. The Friends of the John Wayne Pioneer Trail Organization is a signatory to his agreement.BNSF has not yet started removal and replacement of the Columbia Gorge trestles, but when this occurs (possibly 2018 at best guess), the Beverly Bridge will have a head start on funding for renovation cost and design analysis.We look forward to the day when east and west JWPT sections are united and trail users can travel safely across the Columbia River.