The Coos Bay Bridge Bypass
About 10,000 cyclists pedal the Oregon coast every season on Oregon Coast Highway 101, which spans the 380 mile distance from Astoria, Oregon to the California border, just south of Brookings, Oregon. Most of the route is relaxing pedaling, but a few places along the way present mental monsters for some of the cyclists, in the form of narrow shoulderless roads, tunnels, and huge bridges that were not designed for human powered humans.
There are two bridges on the central portion of the coast that many cyclists do not enjoy crossing. One is in Newport, Oregon, and the other spans Coos Bay (read about the Newport Bridge at Yaquina Bay HERE). The Newport bridge has no alternate bypass route, short of riding over the Coast Range and back, which is out of the question. The Coos Bay bridge, which is the most hated of the two, fortunately has an easy, relaxing, and beautiful bypass option for cyclists who seek serenity rather than close encounters with speeding steel boxes.
I live 44 miles north of the Coos Bay bridge, and have crossed it many times, therefore, when I read on the Crazy Guy on a Bike journal website the accounts of numerous cyclists who are truly frightened of this bridge, I was called to reveal the ultimate solution to what everyone saw as an unsolvable problem. Here on this page, I will post photos of the Coos Bay bridge bypass solution for anyone who hates the bridge and the fear it unleashes on the human mind.
This bridge was designed by a man named McCullough in the 1930s. He clearly had no vision of human powered humans enjoying his work while they crossed the bay. Pedestrians have complained that the low railing and high winds make for a terrifying experience, and cyclists have either the option of an insanely narrow sidewalk or riding in the very narrow car/truck lane. This bridge, along with many on the Oregon coast, is not well designed for human beings who do not rely upon petroleum powered vehicles.
Even the Oregon State Police crash on this bridge. What if you were riding on the sidewalk here? Read the accounts of all those cyclists who detest this huge beast by clicking HERE, where you will find years worth of stories.
Here is the map that shows this bypass of the Coos Bay bridge, which also conveniently bypasses the automobile choked cities of North Bend and Coos Bay in the process. By turning left at the traffic signal light at the north end of the bridge, and riding along East Bay Drive (through Glasgow, Cooston, and Eastside) a cyclist can leisurely pedal around all the unwanted annoyances of overstocked humanity on a gorgeous forested road along the east side of the bay.
The following photographs will give you a little idea of what this looks like actually on the road.
As you can see, the territory on the east side of Coos Bay is wide open and peaceful. This is just a rural road for local residents, thus automobile traffic is virtually nonexistent, making it seem like you have a trike road just for you. You can see the dreaded bridge to the west across the bay, and smile knowing that you are not on it.
This little flat and short bridge with no traffic is near the south end of the bypass route. It crosses Coos River just before the river flows into the bay.
More natural world scenery you can actually enjoy without worry
Here is the “Shake n Burger Drive Thru” burger joint just before you turn left onto the Isthmus Slough road. This burger restaurant is in Eastside (see map above for location). I think those eyelashes on the building are cute.
This is the intersection where you turn left in the small berg of Eastside. Turn south (left) onto 6th Avenue, which is the Isthmus Slough route. You are not far from rejoining the Oregon Coast Highway 101 at this point.
Here is where you reconnect with 101. By turning left here at the “South 101 Coquille Bandon” arrow, you will be on the fastest, easiest, and most efficient route south to Bandon, Oregon, where you can camp at Bullards Beach State Park, a great campground.
I have posted this information also on the Crazy Guy on a Bike website, which you may access by clicking HERE. My CGOAB article goes into greater detail:
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ADVENTURE CYCLING ASSOCIATION
The Adventure Cycling Association (ACA) has taken an interest in this bypass. On May 28, 2013, I received this email from the ACA cartography department:
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We just received message about your route suggestion for bypassing the Coos Bay Bridge from one of our members, Wendell Stauffer. Please see my response to him below, and thanks for the information!
cartography dept <email@example.com>
12:55 PM (32 minutes ago)
Thanks for this suggestion. A wholesale route change will be considered at the next update of this map, Pacific Coast Section 2, slated to happen sometime in 2014. In the meantime, it will be included as an item on our online addenda system. This will be posted in the next couple weeks.
150 E. Pine St., Missoula MT 59802
Routes & Mapping
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If you seek the most efficient and easiest path around the monster bridge and twin cities, here is your answer!