by Colene Martin, President-CEO of the Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce
Caveman Bridge is a landscape structure that local businesses and individuals have proudly used as a backdrop for photos and logos for 86 years. You will find it on the City Seal as well as center stage in the Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce logo.
The bridge was built in 1931 by legendary bridge builder Conde McCullough and is considered one of Oregon’s 30 significant bridges because of its historic architectural style.
First introduced as the Gateway to the Redwoods and the Oregon Caves, the Caveman Bridge is still the gateway to the Oregon and California coasts. For those living in Grants Pass and Josephine County, crossing the 550-foot-long bridge is part of our everyday routine. It takes us home, to friends or to a local business.
Those who have lived in our community a long time have watched Caveman Bridge collect cracks, age spots, and brighter, inconsistent repair patches in various places. For the next
17 months, our historic landmark will receive a much-needed facelift: cracks will be filled in the monumental arches, the beautiful concrete railing will be replaced, and new pavement and new lighting will be added.
Contractors will work mostly at night to limit the traffic impact. ODOT is limiting the lane closures as much as possible, accommodating large community events scheduled throughout the year. However, the daily reality will be slower-moving traffic and single-lane closures. Being prepared will aid reducing your stress while crossing the bridge.
If your normal commute includes crossing the bridge during the evening, consider an alternate route that will allow you to get where you need to be safely and on time. Let’s be courteous and gracious community hosts to the construction workers. Let them know we appreciate their efforts and respect their work.
It feels like we are receiving a gift to our community. We must be patient until we can unveil the fresh, new look for our iconic Caveman Bridge. In just 17 months, we will celebrate with tremendous pride a newly-refurbished landmark. Let’s keep that treasured moment in our minds as we weather the minor daily inconveniences that come with a work zone. Use your imagination and help us start planning the celebration of our beautiful Caveman Bridge.
About Colene Martin
For the past six years, Colene Martin has served her community as the President/CEO of The Grants Pass & Josephine County Chamber of Commerce. Prior to that, Colene and her husband, Ron, owned a Grants Pass retail business for 27 years.