River S Bridge Replacement

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The days of one-lane traffic and congestion getting on and off the Auto Tour Route at Ridgefield NWR's Auto Tour Route are coming to an end. Beginning March 18, 2019, work will begin to replace the current one-lane bridge with a two-lane bridge that will pass over both Lake River and the railroad tracks. The project will involve the closing the River S Unit and the Auto Tour Route Mondays through Fridays during construction. 

For more information about this and other Refuge improvement projects, visit www.Refuge2020.info.


Access to Ridgefield NWR's River S Unit and Auto Tour Route will be restricted to weekends only starting March 18, 2019. The closure is due to the replacement of the current one-lane bridge that provides access to the River S Unit. It will be replaced with a two-lane bridge that will cross over Lake River and the railroad tracks.


The project and restricted access begins on March 18, 2019 and will last until March 2nd.  Stay tuned for two small closures in March to demobilize equipment that may last two to three days.  


The new bridge will improve safety and ease of access for Refuge visitors. The Auto Tour Route is a very popular attraction and has led to frustration and safety concerns during times of peak use. Currently, visitors must negotiate with cars coming onto and leaving the Refuge at the same time in the same space. They must also deal with potential delays when trains frequently pass through the Refuge, since the road into the Refuge cross at the same level as the tracks.

The new bridge will allow for free flow of cars in both directions at the same time and eliminate the need to cross train tracks.

More Information

For a deeper dive into this project and its connection to other habitat and public access improvements, the USFWS, Friends of Ridgefield NWR, and Columbia Gorge Refuge Stewards have teamed up to create a comprehensive information resource to keep you informed about all the changes happening in the coming years. Please visit: