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Mitchell Point Tunnel.

Mitchell Point Tunnel [1915-1953] (Gone)

Field review by the editors.

Hood River, Oregon

At milepost 58.5 on I-84 is the Mitchell Spur, a 400-foot-high cliff of black basalt lava rock between the freeway and the Columbia River. Before there was an interstate there was just a narrow two-lane road, and the cliff was a mountain of rock burrowed through by the Mitchell Point Tunnel. Dug in 1915, the Tunnel was unique -- and postcard-caliber -- because its north side had five open-air rock arches, allowing drivers to enjoy views of the river as they motored 390 feet through solid rock.

The tunnel was uniquely scenic, but also deadly; the road had no shoulder, and if your vehicle veered slightly to the north it offered five separate chances to plow into a solid pillar of volcanic rock.

The tunnel was closed in 1953 and destroyed in 1966 to make way for the wider, tunnel-free Interstate.

The Mitchell Point Tunnel was so enthralling that in 2018 the Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee recommended digging a new, 655-foot-long tunnel with five arched windows through the Mitchell Spur -- but this one would only be for hikers.

Mitchell Point Tunnel [1915-1953]


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