New Chambers Bridge
The Winter after the Dedication of the New Chambers Covered Bridge - The Original was replaced by a covered walk bridge in October 2011

Dedcation Plaque

New Chambers Bridge

Original Chambers Bridge

the Chambers Bridge - Original Chambers Bridge Photos by: Bill Cockrell

The Chambers Bridge is the last covered railroad bridge in Oregon. It was built by the Oregon, Pacific and Eastern Railroad for a logging spur which brought logs to the Frank Chambers Mill in Cottage Grove.

The actual use for the bridge was short, as the sawmill burned in 1943 and rail traffic no longer crossed the bridge.

Although the bridge trusses are now exposed, at one time the siding completely enclosed the structure to afford maximum protection for the timbers. In the typical construction for railroad spans, truss members of herculean proportions were necessary to support the moving weight of rail payloads.

The hand hewn trusses in the Chambers Bridge, like others, were preferred over millsawed timbers because the wood fibers crushed by saw teeth allowed moisture to more readily enter the axe-formed surfaces.

The western approach to the bridge has been removed to make way for the easement of South River Road. Abandoned for years, the bridge has been a frequent target of arsonists, as the charred timbers attest. Fortunately, the bridge has not succumbed to fire.

Built to accommodate steam engines pulling logging trains, the sides of the Chambers Bridge reach much higher than highway covered spans and give the bridge an appearance of being much longer than its actual length.

The bridge was inspected under the 1993-95 Covered Bridge Program. The bottom chords show extensive decay, and in some places three of the four members are rotted. In several places all three members of the floor beams are rotted. Corbels are decayed and crushed, which makes the house lean as much as 12 inches to the upstream side.

Emergency Declared
On February 9, 2010 it was discovered that the Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge had moved and creating additional leaning upstream. Apparently the bridge had moved as a result of the January 12, 2010 storm. The bridge was in danger of imminent collapse. On Tuesday, February 16, 2010 the Cottage Grove City Council held an Emergency Council Meeting to declare an emergency and authorize the immediate dismantling of the bridge. Upon adoption of the emergency resolution the City and consulting engineers (OBEC) began securing approvals from State and Federal agencies for the dismantling of the bridge. Clearances were received Friday, February 19, 2010 and onsite work began Monday, February 22, 2010.

Bridge Dismantling
Bridge dismantling began February 24, 2010. The bridge was secured and a substructure under the bridge was built to stabilize the bridge during the dismantling. A platform was built on the downstream side of the bridge and rolled under the bridge. Once under the bridge the platform was raised to hold the bridge structure in place. The upper chords were anchored to the downstream substructure to further stabilize the bridge.

The reconstruction of the bridge began March, 2011. During the summer of 2011 materials were replaced on the site and the bridge was reconstructed. The restored bridge is scheduled for completion in November 2011. Dedication and re-opening of the bridge occured December 3, 2011.

HOW TO GET THERE: Exit I-5 at Cottage Grove. Travel south on Highway 99 to Harrison Avenue. Turn west on Harrison to Old River Road. Turn south on Old River Road. Chambers RR is off of Old River Road just south of Harrison.

More Information on the New Chambers Covered Bridge can be found HERE

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