Dent Bridge

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Dent Bridge
Orofino, Idaho, United States
500 feet high / 152 meters high
1,050 foot span / 320 meter span
1972

Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Constructed to cross the deep waters of the man-made Dworshak reservoir, the Dent suspension bridge opened in 1971 as part of a transportation infrastructure improvement from the construction of the 717 foot (219 mtr) high Dworshak Dam near Orofino, Idaho. The two lane crossing is the second highest reservoir bridge ever built in North America, exceeded only by the Bidwell Bar bridge on California’s Lake Oroville. With a length of 1,050 feet (320 mtrs), the Dent bridge also has the longest span in the U.S. state of Idaho, exceeding the main arch of the more famous Perrine bridge by 57 feet (17 mtrs).

Constructed by Hensel Phelps of Greeley, Colorado, the remote bridge was declared an “American Institute of Steel Construction Award of Merit 1972 Long Span” winner. Despite a thin deck, stiffened by plate girders and internal trusses, the bridge is designed to handle fully loaded 110 ton logging trucks. Like its California cousin over Lake Oroville, much of the Dent bridge remains underwater. The south tower measures 315 feet (96 mtrs) from the top of the foundation to the top of the tower. Only half of that is visible when the lake is full. The bridge was named after a family of homesteaders who lived on the west end of the bridge in 1895.

The damming of the North Fork of the Clearwater River also resulted in the construction of the Grandad bridge, a cantilever bridge that crosses 302 feet (90 mtrs) above the old river level about 50 miles (80km) upstream of the dam and about 33 miles (53 kms) from the Dent bridge. One of Idaho’s biggest waterways, the Clearwater eventually empties into the Snake River at the border of Idaho and Washington states.



Dent Bridge Elevation


A view of the bridge just after it was completed above a still unfilled Dworshak reservoir. Image by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Bridge photographer Patrick S. O'Donnell will be visiting his 1,000th suspension or cable stayed bridge in 2010. No person on earth has visited more suspension bridges than Patrick. Dent was his 191st bridge. You can see many more of the bridges he has photographed (and climbed on) at www.bridgemeister.com and www.flickr.com/photos/suspensionstayed/ Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


A huge bird's nest was resting on top of one of the bridge towers. Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.


Image by Patrick S. O'Donnell.

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