The Fremont Bridge

Bridge Stats


The Fremont Bridge is easily identified by the flags atop its rainbow arch which is 381 feet above water level. The Fremont is impressive because of its size: It is both the longest bridge in Oregon and the second longest tied-arch bridge in the world.

Even its design and construction processes were remarkable. The Oregon Dept. of Transportation hoped to avoid the negative public reaction its Marquam Bridge had received in 1966, so ODOT invited the Portland Art Commission to give conceptual input on this bridge. Various public and private firm engineers collaborated on its high tech, computer-aided design. Engineers from all over the world came to watch the completion of its assembly which was a record-setting bridge lift: Over a 50-hour period 8 hydraulic jacks at each corner hoisted the 902 foot-long, 6,000-ton center span arch up into place 175 feet above the river.

The Fremont opened in 1973. Its concrete lower deck (for eastbound traffic) is suspended from its upper (westbound) deck. The latter is made of steel plate and was designed with strengthening properties in two directions (“orthotropic”).

The bridge is named for the street which was to have been its eastside approach; the street is named for John Charles Fremont who was paid to survey the Oregon Trail.

Willamette Light Brigade does not yet have a lighting design concept for the Fremont.