Historic Hood River
East Meets West
I was recently invited to join ODOT in a tour of the new Mitchell Point Tunnel on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The big news is it is now actually a tunnel, as the two teams of workers have met somewhere near the middle. We were able to walk from one end to the other (655 feet), and look out all five adits (windows) to see the beautiful views which will greet visitors when it is open to the public.
I took many photos myself, but Dr. A. J. Zelada’s photos do a much better job at capturing the moment. He has graciously shared his collection of images from the tour I’ll also share his caption to the photograph above:
The east and west tunnel diggers have shaken hands and given birth to the continuous length of the Mitchell Tunnel. What one instantly realizes is the light that comes in and creates the reminiscent older Mitchell Point tunnel. The curve of the ceilings and tunnels itself are taking shape before our eyes. Each adit is now showing its own personality with the Northerly view of the Columbia and Washington shore/mountain outlines.
There is still work to be done before the tunnel can be opened to the public. The rock walls are very loose material so they must be coated with “shotcrete” to keep the walls from crumbling. Adits need stone railings, portals need to be complete, and of course the roadway needs paving. Construction focus is shifting to the trail which connects the west portal to Viento. The Viento to Mitchell trail and the tunnel itself are scheduled to open in 2023.