Friday, January 10, 2014

Boulder slams into the bridge over Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls the day after

Multnomah Falls, on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge, is listed as the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States. The falls drops in two major steps; the upper falls of 542 feet, then a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation to the lower part of the falls, which drops 69 feet, listing a total of 620 feet.

Unfortunately, water is not the only thing that falls.  An occasional boulder may also careen through space, slamming into the pool at the bottom of the upper falls, or into the Benson Bridge which spans the space between the upper and lower falls.  Yesterday a boulder did a lot of damage to the bridge.  If you look close at the photo above, you can see the yellow caution tap, flapping in the mist bellowing from the falls.  Here is a close up of the bridge.
Damage after boulder drops from falls into the bridge 01/09/14
I happened to speak to a New York State Department of Transportation Civil Engineer while I visited today, who told me the bridge is structurally sound.  “Well, let’s see,” she said, “this is January, so I’ll bet they’ll have that repaired by the beginning of summer.”

“Really?” I asked her.  “May I quote you?”

She laughed, but her husband, a history professor, nodded.  “She knows bridges.”

“What about you?” I asked.  “May I quote you, too?”

“I don’t know much about bridges,” he said.

“Well, historically, bridges are often repaired, right?”


There you have it.  An accurate quote from both a civil engineer and a history professor.  We’ll have our bridge back to normal in no time.  I think my work here is done.

Until then, the trail to the bridge is closed, but you can still see the falls hurling through space, hear the thunder of the cascading water, and feel the mist upon your face.

1 comment:

Comments are great fun. Really. I love them. Except from the bots that have found my blog. I'm enabling the word verification to block them. Sorry.