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project date: 2006 | by peter reedijk

Oregon boasts the largest collection of covered bridges in the West, in fact, one of the largest in the nation. The covered-bridge-building tradition in Oregon dates from the 1850s. The "house" was constructed over the timber trusses to protect them from the damp western Oregon climate. For almost one hundred years, Lowell Covered Bridge supported some of the heaviest truck traffic in Oregon. In 1981, it was bypassed with a concrete span.

In 2004, OBEC Engineering was hired to manage and engineer the rehabilitation and creation of an interpretive center at the old Lowell Covered Bridge. Sea Reach worked with OBEC to plan, design, fabricate and install the interpretive features. The bridge has a span of 165-feet and is twenty-four-feet wide creating a cavernous interior space. To maintain the character - dark, cool, and protected - we designed a series of light box exhibits. The backlit panels are easy to read and do not impact the overall ambience.

Twenty-eight 12" x 8" plaques form a timeline along the railing leading up to the bridge.

The open-air kiosk allows visitors to view the exhibits and see the subject at the same time. The outdoor exhibits interpret the nearby dams (the bridge is on a reservoir), the Willamette National Forest, covered bridges in Oregon, and local attractions.



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