Author Topic: Crossing the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge on the Lewis and Clark Route  (Read 1157 times)

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Offline slk

The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge looks very long and dangerous with no space at all for cyclists.   Does anyone with experience crossing this bridge by bike have any information or suggestions?

Thanks.
SLK

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Crossing the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge on the Lewis and Clark Route
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2021, 02:11:06 pm »
I did it once. It seemed OK to me. Yeah, there's not much of a shoulder but traffic was courteous. I liked it more than crossing The Dalles Bridge (US 197) to the west, though that bridge has a sidewalk.

My least favorite bridge across the Columbia has to be the Lewis and Clark (Longview) Bridge further west.

As for suggestions: I always ride these kind of bridges as fast as I can.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Crossing the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge on the Lewis and Clark Route
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2021, 08:59:50 am »
As adventurepdx suggests,  ride it as fast as you can.  Start when there's a gap in traffic going your way.  If you don't think there's room for traffic behind you to pass you safely within your lane, ride down the middle of your lane.  Other traffic coming up behind you will either have to wait patiently for a half a mile, or pass in the other lane.  Somehow knowing they're on a bridge seems to help drivers focus on whether there's enough room to pass you safely, IME.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Crossing the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge on the Lewis and Clark Route
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2021, 12:37:15 pm »
There are a lot of long, narrow bridges. The suggestions presented so far are about your only practical option. Wait for a break, take the lane, ride like hell. I like to find a spot in front of a big truck because truck drivers are usually more patient, less likely to try to pass, and block the traffic behind it better so that they can't pass either.

The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge is only a half-mile long. A number of the bridges on the Pacific Coast Route are longer. The most oft-discussed bridge there is the Coos Bay Bridge, which is over a mile long. Some people go to great lengths to route around it, but it's only five minutes out of a five-week tour. Just grit your teeth and go. The traffic will wait.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Crossing the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge on the Lewis and Clark Route
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2021, 02:07:55 pm »
The Sam Hill Memorial Bridge is only a half-mile long. A number of the bridges on the Pacific Coast Route are longer. The most oft-discussed bridge there is the Coos Bay Bridge, which is over a mile long.

People do talk about the Coos Bay Bridge, but I think the Pacific Coast bridge people fear most is the Astoria-Megler Bridge, which is a whopping four miles long! The fear of this bridge has people going far out of the way to avoid it. (I'm pretty sure that's the reason why ACA's Pacific Coast Route through Washington is so weird.) I've ridden it several times, and didn't find it anywhere near as bad as people made it out to be. I think the length is what gets people worked up--no matter how fast you ride, you are going to spend at least fifteen minutes of your life on this bridge, and once on, there's no way out until the other end.

One good thing about the Astoria bridge is there are traffic lights at both ends, controlling the flow of vehicles onto the bridge. Traffic comes in waves vs. being a steady flow. So there will be a minute or two with no cars passing, then a minute or two of cars passing.

Getting back to the Sam Hill Bridge, there is a light on the south side of the bridge, so if you are northbound you'll have that same "waves of cars" phenomenon like the Astoria Bridge.