High Steel Bridge

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High Steel Bridge
South Fork Skokomish River
Shelton, Washington, United States
365 feet high / 111 meters high
366 foot span / 112 meter span


The highest railway arch bridge ever built in the United States, the High Steel arch bridge soars 365 feet (111 mtrs) above the South Fork of the Skokomish River. Originally constructed in 1929 by the Simpson Logging Company, the bridge was converted to road use in 1950. Several miles south on the same rail line is the Vance Creek bridge, the second highest arch bridge ever built for a U.S. rail line. Both bridges were built by the American Bridge Company. Despite being used for many more years as a railway bridge, the Vance Creek arch was eventually abandoned and has neither tracks nor a roadway on top of it. Visitors to the High Steel bridge should be careful, the guard rails on the north side are only about 3 feet (1 mtr) high. If you don’t watch out, you may find yourself in a 37-story free fall!

High Steel Bridge Elevation


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A local Shelton area school bus makes a field trip to the bridge. Watch out for the low north side barrier! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


A Simpson Logging Company train crosses the bridge sometime before the 1950 road conversion. There were once hundreds of logging railroad companies in the Pacific Northwest. Simpson Logging is the last one running in the United States even though they no longer have a line across either of the two great arch bridges they built.

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