(Dodson to Cascade Locks; Hwy #2 MP 35.63-43.38, 7.75 miles)
(near Cascade Locks to Hood River; Hwy #2 MP 47.62-61.81, 14.19 miles)
(21.94 miles total)
(Dodson to Cascade Locks; Hwy #2 MP 35.63-Hwy #100 MP 31.28, 9.03 miles)
(near Cascade Locks to Hood River; Hwy #2 MP 47.62-Hwy #100 MP 51.26, 16.77 miles)
(Mosier to The Dalles; Hwy #100 MP 57.53-72.37, 14.84 miles)
(40.64 miles total)
While the Historic Columbia River Highway was only designated in 1993, the highway itself is one of the oldest scenic highways of its kind in the country, and the first in Oregon. The highway began construction in 1913 as the Columbia River Highway #2, completed between Astoria and Pendleton in 1922. In 1926, the highway was designated as US-30. However, when the corridor between Portland and The Dalles was selected as the Interstate 80N corridor, a much wider, much straighter routing of the highway was needed between those points; a new Columbia River Highway #2 was built close to the old Columbia River Highway in sections from 1949 to 1968, when the last of the sections were upgraded to Interstate standards. By that point, the former Columbia River Highway was split up into several sections:
These designations remained on the historic segments more or less until 1993, when the Oregon Department of Transportation expressed a strong desire to restore segments of the historic highway that were bypassed by the construction of I-84 through the Gorge. Thus, they created the Historic Columbia River Highway #100, which starts at the Sandy River Bridge in Troutdale, running along the Crown Point Highway until Dodson, where it pairs up with the Columbia River Highway until Cascade Locks. From there, it runs into town along the Cascade Locks Highway until Forest Lane, where it continues (as a located line) until the Cascade Locks city limit, where it travels along an I-84 frontage road until Herman Creek Rd., where it rejoins I-84 until Cascade Locks. In Cascade Locks, it runs along a former section of the Mount Hood Highway until its junction with OR-35, where it continues straight ahead. About 1.2 miles along the road, the road becomes a 4.5 mile bike trail inaccessible to cars. Around Mosier, the road becomes re-accessible to cars, following a former section of the Mosier-The Dalles Highway until the The Dalles city limit, where the highway ends; from this point, the remainder of the Mosier-The Dalles Highway picks up the state highway designation.
Personally, I think that because it is an important state highway, this highway should have a state route attached to it. My pick would be OR-100 to correspond with the highway number. I was thinking that either they could add a shield underneath each Historic Columbia River Highway shield, or completely redo the HCRH shield to incorporate the OR-100 designation. My idea for the latter shield would be this:
Either way, it seems ridiculous to me to leave such an important highway of Oregon's past without a route designation.
This alignment (shown in red) was never a part of the Historic Columbia River Highway #100 proper, but I have included it here because it is still designated as the Columbia River Highway on street signs. Even some HCRH shields have appeared in downtown Troutdale, and Columbia River Highway street signs have "Historic" affixed to them. This portion originally had an exit ramp from I-84 Eastbound (Exit 16B, Crown Point Hwy.) that was closed in 1997 due to I-84 widening and saftey concerns; barely any indication of a ramp exists there now. To get to this section, get off on Exit 16 on I-84, go south on 238th St., take a left on Halsey and another left onto 244th St. This road will curve to the right, and when it does, you'll be on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Also of note: a patch of pavement near a structure close to the western end of this segment used to be a part of the Sundial Highway #124 before its 1965 decommissioning.