Agate Pass Bridge connecting the north end of Bainbridge Island to mainland Kitsap County opens on October 7, 1950.

  • By Paula Becker
  • Posted 11/17/2004
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7136
On October 7, 1950, the Agate Pass Bridge opens. This is a steel truss cantilever bridge that carries State Route 305 from the north end of Bainbridge Island over Agate Pass to the mainland part of Kitsap County. The bridge replaces a car ferry service dating from the 1920s. The Agate Pass Bridge operates as a toll bridge until October 1, 1951.

The Agate Pass Bridge is 1,229 feet long and cost $1,351,363 to build. Construction costs were paid out of the motor vehicle fund, and were repaid by a bond issue passed by the 1951 State Legislature.

Tolls generated by traffic across the bridge repaid the bond. The toll was 35 cents per car plus driver and five cents per passenger. The Toll Bridge Authority managed the bridge during the one year it took to repay the bond.

State Highway Director William A. Bugge opened the bridge by fitting a giant wooden key into a large lock suspended over the bridge roadway. Next on the Highway Department’s agenda was “straightening, widening, and relocating 4.7 miles of highway from near Poulsbo to the north end of the bridge and 4 miles from the south end of the bridge to near Winslow. The [existing] narrow winding roads … are dotted with signs: '20 M.P.H.'” (The Seattle Times).

The Agate Pass Bridge provided (and continues to provide) a direct route between Seattle, via the Seattle-Bainbridge Island ferry, and the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas. The bridge spans Agate Pass 75 feet above the water and has a channel clearance of 300 feet between piers.


Sources: Washington State Highway Commission First Biennial Report; Department of Highways Twenty-fourth Biennial Report, 1950-1952 (Olympia: State Printing Plant, 1952); “Agate Pass Bridge, Link To Peninsula, Opens With Ceremonies,” The Seattle Times, October 8, 1950; “Saturday Afternoon Ceremonies Will Mark Opening of New Bridge Over Agate Pass,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 7, 1950; 1961 Wash. Laws, ch. 13, sec. 47.10.130.

Related Topics:   Bridges | Roads & Rails

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