Yaquina Bay Bridge – Newport OR


The bridge at the mouth of the Yaquina River at Newport OR was constructed with funding from the Public Works Administration (PWA) in 1934-36.  It was one of five PWA-funded bridges over the Alsea River, Coos Bay, Siuslaw River, Umpqua River, and Yaquina River that completed the Oregon Coast Highway. All but the Alsea River bridge still stand.

The coast highway was developed after 1914 by the state and county highway departments, but money ran out in the Great Depression before the job could be finished.  With the advent of the New Deal, the PWA offered $1.4 million and a loan of $4.2 million – soon replaced by a state bond issue. The year after completion of the five bridges, coastal tourism in Oregon jumped by over two-thirds.

The Yaquina River bridge is over 3,200 feet long with a 600-foot central steel arch flanked by two 320-foot steel arches beneath the roadway, plus two long concrete approach spans (especially on the south end). It has concrete Art Deco obelisks flanking both approaches, with pedestrian plazas and spiral stairways at the south end (there are similar elements on the other PWA coast bridges).

The HAER report on the bridge summarizes its importance:

“The completion of these five Oregon coast bridges was a significant milestone in Oregon transportation history. These structures culminated twenty two years of Oregon Coast Highway construction…State Bridge Engineer McCullough referred to the five PWA bridges as ‘jewel-like clasps in perfect settings linking units of a beautiful highway’….Despite the Depression, architecture of the day tended towards streamlined decoration and finely crafted ornamentation; such work was an artistic expression of optimism in a period of austerity.”

The Yaquina bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, along with the other four remaining PWA coast bridges.

Watch In Landscape Harmony: New Deal Bridges for the Oregon Coast about the construction of all five coastal Oregon bridges built to complete the Coast Highway (Highway 101), funded by the PWA. (8:15)

Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s
$1,400,000 $4,200,000 $5,600,000 PWA 984 (for all five bridges)

Source notes

Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) OR-44, Yaquina River Bridge. 1992. (author Kenneth Guzowski) https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/master/pnp/habshaer/or/or0300/or0311/data/or0311data.pdf


Hadlow, Robert, Elegant Arches, Soaring Spans: C.B. McCullough, Oregon's Master Bridge Builder. Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press. 2001.

Joe R. Blakely. Lifting Oregon Out of the Mud: Building the Oregon Coast Highway. Wallowa, Oregon: Bear Creek Press, 2006.

Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on May 28, 2022.
Additional contributions by Judith T Kenny.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

Yaquina Bay Bridge
Newport, OR 97365

Coordinates: 44.62207, -124.05636

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