Bridge work on Oregon Coast pairs modern safety, historic look

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FLORENCE, Ore. - Repairs to a bridge on Highway 101 near Heceta Head will bring the span up to modern safety standards while restoring the historic look of the 1932 structure.

The work also means delays for motorists traveling between Florence and Yachats.

The Cape Creek Bridge, designed by famed Oregon bridge engineer Conde McCullough, was completed the same year as the Oregon Coast Highway.

The nearby tunnel of the same name was finished a year earlier.

The span and tunnel long held the nickname "the million-dollar mile" for the costs associated with the engineering challenges faced during construction.

The work to replace the bridge railing and sidewalk will cost more in today's dollar: The low-bid contract of $2.162 million was awarded to Hamilton Construction of Springfield, Oregon.

For sake of comparison: That's $127,000 in 1932 dollars.

To complete the work, crews have been flagging traffic through the area in one direction at a time during the daytime. Starting next Monday, 24-hour flagging will begin.

Rick Little with the Oregon DOT said the goal is to keep delays to 20 minutes or less.

The bridge is south of Heceta Head. Travelers headed north from Florence on Hwy 101 must cross it to reach the lighthouse and continue on to Yachats.