If you’ve ever driven on I-90 between Ellensburg and Vantage, you know this bridge. The 680 foot long span crosses the valley 118 feet above the interstate.
It was originally constructed as a timber frame bridge in 1908, and then replaced with the current steel structure in 1909. The footings happened to be spaced in a way that allowed I-90 to be constructed in the late 1950’s without any disturbance to the bridge above.
The last time a train rumbled over the Renslow Trestle was in 1980, when the Milwaukee Road was abandoned and the entire rail line and infrastructure was sold to the state to be developed into a trail.
Today, this bridge is part of the Palouse to Cascades Trail, and up until today, this span was one of the few major barriers left on the west side of the Columbia River. The lack of any rails or decking required an out of the way detour between Kittitas and The Yakima Training Center on rural county roads, which had no shoulder and poor visibility for cyclists.
Washington State Parks announced today that the bridge is officially complete and open to the public, allowing people to hike, bike, or ride a horse across it, and making a trail connection that has been needed for quite some time.
The completion of the Renslow Trestle means that the Palouse to Cascades Trail is now rideable for 120 uninterrupted miles, from Rattlesnake Lake, all the way to the Columbia River. This is an absolute milestone for the Trail, and it goes without saying that the hard work and advocacy of so many people and so many groups is appreciated.
Go out there and cross that bridge!