Beverly Railroad Bridge

Status: Most Endangered Places

Year Listed: 2017

Location: Columbia River between Grant and Kittitas Counties

The Columbia River is a defining feature of Washington State, but it also serves as a challenging barrier for cross-state travel. The construction of the Beverly Railroad Bridge, completed in 1909, was part of the westward expansion of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and a major engineering feat of its day.

By 1980 the route was closed, but due to its significance, the Beverly Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Today, the Milwaukee Railroad route has been converted to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail – part of an effort by conservation, recreation, and preservation advocates to create a statewide greenway trail system. The Beverly Bridge is the pivotal missing piece that would connect east and west. Advocates would like to see the bridge transferred from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources to Washington State Parks and rehabilitated to complete the cross-state recreational trail.

The Washington Trust is part of a broad alliance of statewide conservation, recreation, and preservation organizations who have been advocating for the rehabilitation of the Beverly Bridge across the Columbia River in Central Washington. Completed in 1909, the bridge was part of the westward expansion of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad and a major engineering feat of its day. By 1980, the route was closed, but much of the old Milwaukee Railroad route was converted to the John Wayne Pioneer Trail—recently renamed the Palouse to Cascades Trail. The Beverly Bridge currently sits as the pivotal missing piece connecting the eastern and western halves of the 285-mile-long trail, and rehabilitation of the bridge would be a critical investment in Washington State tourism along the trail while serving to enrich the recreational lives of Washingtonians.

The Washington Trust joined efforts when the Palouse to Cascades Trail Coalition nominated the Beverly Bridge to our list of Most Endangered Places in 2017. We played a key role in advancing the campaign to rehabilitate the bridge by managing the process of a conditions assessment of the bridge that would give advocates a realistic cost to work toward. Equipped with this information, the Washington Trust and our many partners were able to effectively advocate for state funding this past budget cycle to make that rehabilitation a reality. At the end of April this year, we were thrilled that the Washington State Legislature and Governor Inslee allocated $5.1 million to go toward the Beverly Bridge rehabilitation and conversion into recreational trail use. With an additional $429,000 in anticipated local funds, the total amount dedicated to rehabilitating the bridge and converting it to recreational use is $5.5 million. While there is still much to be done, the state’s investment in this historic bridge is a transformative accomplishment in the campaign to bring the Beverly Bridge back to life.