Bridge Over Troubled Waters Tuesday – Week Seventeen! Wow, I can hardly believe how many bridges I’ve seen over this journey, and there are lots more!!! I particularly enjoyed visiting Gilkey Bridge and not for the normal reasons I’ve enjoyed any of the other ones. Gilkey was one of the last ones I visited on a recent drive near several of them just east of Interstate five near Scio and Silverton. Gilkey Bridge has one startling difference from all of the rest of the bridges I’ve seen and I dare say none of the others will be the same. However, we’ll have to see.
Finding Gilkey Bridge
Gilkey bridge was the last one on my little trip to six or seven of these bridges. It was the last one I visited and I was grateful to have the opportunity to visit it and be able to spend some time there and not worry too much about timing.
Arriving at Gilkey Bridge
The first thing I noticed (it’s a little hard not to!) was that there were signs saying “Bridge Closed Ahead” and “DO NOT ENTER” – well, you all know me – I ignored those signs and figured I would find out sooner to later what that meant. I did see lots of equipment ahead and as I got closer there were barrels blocking (mostly) any traffic getting close. I was super surprised and my breath almost taken away when I drove as far as I could and started seeing parts of Gilkey Bridge (because, what else would it be) lying along the road.
As I walked closer there were more and more pieces of the bridge lying along the road – now, here’s the thing, they were very carefully removed from the bridge and weren’t simply discarded, they were all carefully stacked and organized. There was a few obstacles blocking the road, so I parked the bronco and made my way the remainder of the distance on foot.
Gilkey Bridge Itself
Finally I got close enough to actually see the bridge itself – and for all the parts and pieces of it lying along the road it still seemed massive and super durable. It was located about a hundred yards from the creek itself – just moved along the road from where it was previously located across the creek.
Walking Toward the River
I kept going past the bridge itself – I wanted to see what the creek looked like and while I was heading there I noticed maybe the biggest timbers I’ve ever seen out of a house – I think they might have been twelve by twelves. These were also stacked carefully along the road
Arriving at the River
When I got to the end of the road it really was the end of the road. Like no more bridge and no way to get across. The supports on either side of the bridge were being remade in concrete and looked as sturdy as the bridge itself. There is a smaller bridge that is for trains that still crosses the river, but the absence of Gilkey Bridge itself is startling. Still, it’s very good to see how well the county or state is taking care of things and preserving this piece of Oregon history.
Summary and Rating
Gilkey Bridge was a great place to finish the tour I had for that special morning – it showed how well these bridges are built and also how carefully they are treated when they are being worked on. I highly recommend anyone who has an opportunity to visit as many of these bridges as they can. Also, if you have time in the near future find a moment to visit Gilkey Bridge – it’s fantastic and definitely deserves five Heywillamettes.