Author Topic: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington  (Read 3816 times)

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Offline Clem

Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« on: March 21, 2011, 04:21:15 pm »
I have seen photos of the Lewis and Clark Bridge, including closeups showing what passes for a shoulder bike lane. Any experience on how safe that route is. I am planning on flying into SEATAC and heading south, crossing the Columbia River at Longview and proceeding east on the Lewis and Clark trail to Missoula, then transitioning to the Northern Tier to Erie PA and south to Pittsburgh, then the Alleghany Passage and C&O Canal to Washington.

Offline jamawani

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2011, 10:57:02 pm »
Is there any reason that you absolutely have to cross this bridge in particular.  It's been a while since I rode it, but I can remember it as hair-raising.  I think they improved it since then - - but not much.  I think the "improvements" consisted of narrowing the lanes 1 foot so that you are not quite as freaked out.  But the traffic is really bad on the bridge, too.

You know that you can stay north of the river by riding down the Washington side.  You can either cross over on I-205 so that you can ride the Old Columbia Gorge Highway or stay on the Washington side on Hwy 14.  There are other back ways on the Washington side.

OR - -

You can catch a bus out of SEATAC to, let's say, Aberdeen, Wash - then ride down US 101 and inland via Hwy 4.  There's a wonderful back road along the Columbia between Skamokawa and Cathlamet - then the Cathlamet Ferry across the Columbia and US 30 on the Oregon side.  US 30 is pretty busy, but has good shoulders.

Offline jamawani

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2011, 11:01:07 pm »
PS - If you are riding cross-country - then why not get a look at the Pacific Ocean, eh?
Hint, hint - - Plan B above.  Plus there great camping on the Columbia River at Skamokawa Vista Park.

Online adventurepdx

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Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2011, 02:19:11 am »
I rode the Lewis and Clark Bridge...once.
Once was enough.
The approaches are steep, the traffic fast moving, the shoulder narrow.  And the worst part?  The debris in the shoulder that flies off the numerous logging trucks that use the bridge.  The only flat on my Portland-Vancouver tour in 2009 was on the bridge, when I hit a wood chip at speed.  They must only sweep the bridge once a year before STP.

You can avoid it by staying on the "north" (at this point actually the east) side of the Columbia and cross it at Vancouver, Wash. into Portland.  Here's a route here:
http://www.bikely.com/maps/bike-path/Vancouver-to-Longview-WA
It's not a bad route, except for the one giant, Appalachian-grade hill out of Kalama (Lane Rd).  Heck of a hill.  You can avoid it by riding on I-5 for a few miles (it is legal at this point.) 

The main benefit to going over the Lewis and Clark Bridge into Oregon is simplicity--you stay on U.S. 30 all the way into Portland.

Offline Clem

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2011, 08:38:39 am »
The Lewis & Clark Bridge looks like one of those "grit your teeth and go" one time only bridges. I have been looking at traffic cam photos. Looks like a narrow lane with plenty of trash.

Is there a time of day when south bound traffic is at a minimum?

I was unaware of the route on the northern side of the river. I will try to investigate it further.

Offline JMilyko

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2011, 08:59:45 am »
Clem,

If you have Section 7 of the Lewis & Clark route (http://www.adventurecycling.org/store/index.cfm/product/48_5/lewis--clark-section-7.cfm), it shows an alternate route to stay on the Washington side of the Columbia River on SR 14 from Vancouver to US 97 where you would pick up the main route. Otherwise, you could cross the Columbia from Vancouver as someone else suggested on I-205.

Hope that helps.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Clem

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2011, 10:04:39 am »
I do have the mapset of the Lewis & Clark route. I will look it up when I get home.

Offline jeff s

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2011, 06:34:11 pm »
It was pretty awful the last time i rode it (a decade ago or so) - but WAshDOT has since made some design changes that were supposed to improve conditions for bikes/peds.

It's on Google streetview so you can take a look at what current conditions are:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Longview,+WA&aq=0&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=31.509065,54.580078&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Longview,+Cowlitz,+Washington&ll=46.108283,-122.958547&spn=0,0.002688&t=h&z=19&layer=c&cbll=46.108202,-122.958626&panoid=xv1TRVbgWpUuK9kEtSjEKg&cbp=12,204.31,,0,8.23

Looks like there's a shoulder, delineated by profile striping. Hard to get a read on how wide it is  - You could also contact the WashDOT bike/ped person to see if they know anything about conditions:
       Ian Macek:  MacekI@wsdot.wa.gov / 360-705-7596

There's also a way down to Portland from Longview, paralleling I-5 - haven't ridden it but it sounds ok:
 http://escapevelocipede.blogspot.com/2006/08/792005-longview-loop-120-miles.html
there's a link to the detailed route at the bottom.

suerte!

 

Offline levilaur

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2011, 09:36:59 pm »
When I did the Oregon Coast 2 years ago I started in Longview, I dedcided to forego the bridge because there was too much junk laying on the road and to many trucks, I headed up the river on the Washington side and took a ferry across at Cathmat. Besides, if your heading to the coast you avoid the big long climb on the otherside of the bridge. 

Offline Clem

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 08:16:16 am »
Years ago when I did the Pacific Coast, I also started in Seattle and when I hit Longview, I stayed on the WA side and crossed at Cathlamet on the bridge and little ferry. This time I am heading East. Looking at the traffic cam photos of the bridge, I think I will take the tip from Jeff and take the back route that parallels I-5 on the WA side down to Vancouver, WA and stay on the WA side and head up the Columbia River on Rt 14, crossing to the OR side at Umatilla. I fly out on May 11. My first night will be in Tukwila, a block from an REI where I can pick up fuel for my stove and any last minute incidentals. My first night on the road will be at either Belfair State Park or Twanoh State Park. After that, who knows.

Thanks everyone for the tips and suggestions.

Offline windrath

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 05:14:42 pm »
The bridge was bad in 2007.  And, after crossing, it takes forever (with confusion and alot of traffic to get to the eastern side of Portland.  If you can go the Washington route, do it.

Offline Clem

Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2011, 11:48:46 am »
That WA route keeps looking better and better. I have found a cluster of motels in the Salmon River area of northern Vancouver. I anticipate my first rest day there, then east on Route 14 and cross at Umatilla.

Online adventurepdx

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Re: Safety on the Lewis and Clark Bridge at Longview Washington
« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2011, 06:35:36 pm »
My 2 cents:
I'd recommend crossing over to the Oregon side for at least the Portland to Cascade Locks portion. You can cross over to Portland via Glenn Jackson (I-205) Bridge and get back over to WA 14 at the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks.  Past the Portland metro area (which you pretty much will bypass if you use Marine Drive) you get the most "bang for the buck" for sights like Crown Point, Multnomah Falls, etc.  Plus you get to use the old Columbia River Hwy which is low traffic and has some cars prohibited areas.  14 has moderate-to-high traffic on the same section.  The only drawback to the Oregon side is you have to use I-84 for about three miles.