Historic Hood River
Mitchell Point Tunnel, circa 2022
I was recently invited to tour the construction site of the new Mitchell Point Tunnel, which of course reminded me of all the great images Hood River residents took of the original tunnel more than a century ago. This fine image is courtesy of A. J. Zelada, who shared an entire album of images here. This is a view facing east near the east portal, showing light entering through adit #5.
Here’s a view of construction of the original tunnel looking into the eastern portal. The construction techniques described in that post are quite different than what they are doing today. This tunnel is advancing a couple of feet at a time from both ends with a pair of drills boring holes into the rock. The holes are filled with explosives, and once or twice a week a series of blasts reduces the basalt flow to rubble, which is scooped up by diesel powered equipment and removed to be used for fill elsewhere in the project.
This new tunnel is near the old tunnel location, but it’s considerably longer and deeper into the rock. I’ll explain more about where this tunnel is located relative to the original in a later post.