The Alsea Bay Bridge is a beautiful span, yet it evokes a slight pang of sadness for me since it replaced a bridge of Conde B. McCullough design. One of a set of five planned and built simultaneously to connect the Coos Bay to Newport portion of the Oregon Coast Highway in the 1930s, the original bridge was part of a landmark milestone, opening the Oregon Coast to reliable road travel.
Built over five decades later, the newer bridge design kept with the spirit of the Oregon Coast bridges. Striking and indubitably picturesque, for me it’s missing a bit of the charm of that older time period. Cement has an earthier, more grounded feel than steel.
That small twinge was lessened as my husband and I arrived at Alsea Bay North Wayside. One pair of the spires that bookended the first bridge’s triple arches, plus two entry pylons and a portion of the railing are preserved there. Chunks of history retained.
Vertically positioned lower than the road, but higher than sea level, the perspective on the water from the wayside is a bird’s eye view. It has no beach to walk or Interpretive Center like its southern counterpart on the opposite bank, but the less-frequented Alsea Bay North Wayside offers a different vista of Waldport’s principal focal points.
Two benches are positioned on a grid of sidewalk at the Alsea Bay North Wayside. Select one to sit, or stand next to the cascading peaks of the original McCullough bridge railing, and the newer bridge stretches away from you at a steep angle as it hovers above Alsea Bay.
Stuffed with fishing and crabbing gear, motorboats steered by hopeful, hungry, human predators buzz along the water below. The salty breeze may ruffle your hair, accompanied by the clickity-clack of cars leaving and entering bridge on the road nearby.
|Terrain: Level sidewalk. Curb can be avoided by utilizing curb ramp next to parking space shown on the destination map.|
|Seating: Two benches with backs|
|Fee: No fee|
|Directions: From Highway 101 in Waldport, just north of the Alsea Bay Bridge, turn west on Minor Park Road. Follow the bend to the south, then continue straight until you are at the wayside parking lot. The benches are on the sidewalk at the end of the roundabout.|
If you find driving over the Alsea Bay Bridge is too faced-paced to take in the bay and ocean views, why not stroll it on foot? Climb the stairs at the Alsea Bay North Wayside, and enjoy the sights at your leisure. As a bonus, you can touch the towering art deco entry pylon located at the top of the stairs.
A walkway extends along the bridge’s handrail. The full length of the bridge is over a half mile, but it’s only about 250 steps from the top of the stairs to the decorative arch.
|Terrain: Level sidewalk followed by a stairway with railing comprised of two sets of nine stairs each. If you proceed onto the bridge walkway, there is a section sloped upward before leveling out.|
|Fee: No fee|
|Directions: From the benches described above, head straight to the wall. Turn right and climb the stairs.|