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February 6, 2023

Best In State: Gold Award  
Social, Economic And Sustainable Design   

Photo by Ken Gaer/Exeltech Consulting
The open design of the pedestrian/equestrian rail wire fabric fence is essentially transparent, preserving the appearance of the historic structure and stunning views.

Exeltech Consulting  
Project: Beverly Bridge rehabilitation
Client: Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission 


Once a missing link to non-motorized trail travel across Washington, the historic Beverly Bridge now provides hikers, cyclists, equestrians, and residents a safer route between the eastern and western sections of the 284-mile-long Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail across the Columbia River. Originally built in 1909, this bridge is now the longest rail-to-trail bridge in Washington and the only non-motorized crossing of the Columbia River.

Exeltech Consulting designed the rehabilitation of the 3,000-foot-long former railroad bridge for the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and has been closed since the 1980s. In 2014, a wildfire destroyed the bridge deck.

The Exeltech team led the Beverly Bridge rehabilitation project design, engineering, environmental documentation, and permitting — and supported State Parks’ community outreach activities. Several priorities guided all decisions, including preserving the aesthetics of the structure and mitigating impacts on sensitive cultural and natural resources.  

The bridge is in the traditional home of the Wanapum and the Sinkayuse tribes, and is a historic route for explorers, fur traders, and homesteaders. Numerous pre-contact archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures were documented within and near the project area. 

Considering the sensitive site, the team applied accelerated bridge construction principles to design and permit a cost-effective rehabilitation that preserved the grand appearance of the historic structure and the stunning views with minimal site disturbance. The approach also helped to expedite complex agency coordination and approvals. 

Exeltech engineers designed nine sizes of deck slabs that would work for all spans, and included cutting a small notch in 22 slabs in the location of the knee braces on the existing span. This design allowed for the placement of new decking/walkway panels with no loss of structural integrity or modifications to the underlying floor beams or plate girders while maintaining the appearance of the historic bridge, solving a complex design challenge. 

Transporting prefabricated deck slabs and railing for rapid erection and construction with simplified on-site connection details was both timely and cost-effective.  

The bridge design also includes power lines, restoring reliable electrical service to remote areas along the west bank of the Columbia River that are difficult to access. This power redundancy supports economic development for communities within Kittitas and Grant counties. As an added benefit, community outreach efforts indicated that the bridge would also serve as a pedestrian commuter pathway for orchard employees living east of the Columbia River to cross daily.

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