Since 1936 there was a ferry across the Columbia River but as more and more traffic used the ferry the service proved too slow. Each crossing usually took 30 minutes and when the weather was bad the journey was longer and so more traffic built up. A bridge was the obvious choice and on 5th November 1962 construction began.
All of the sections were built off site and then shipped to the site on barges. The bridge is a unique specimen as only half of the bridge is steel. Half the bridge is flat across the water, raised on 171 piers and then it slowly rises into the steel structure to a height of 205m (672ft).
The bridge was officially opened on 27th August 1966 at a cost of $24 million, making a permanent connection between the Canadian and Mexican borders. At the time of construction people were calling it 'a bridge to nowhere' and there would never be enough traffic to justify it. In the first year 206,216 vehicles crossed and in 1992 the toll was dropped 2 years sooner than expected. The 'bridge to nowhere' was called 'The Bridge to the World'.
On one day a year in October, the bridge which is normally closed to pedestrians hosts the Great Columbia Crossing where participants either walk or run across the bridge. The race normally takes around 2 hours to complete.