- This is the site of the last wooden covered bridge to be constructed across the Delaware River between New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
- The wooden bridge was completed and opened as a tolled crossing February 1, 1869.
- The four-span wooden bridge was destroyed in the historic Delaware River flood of 1955. At that time, it was the longest remaining wooden covered bridge in the United States.
- The current steel pedestrian bridge was installed atop the wooden bridge’s reconstructed piers and abutments in 1957-58. The bridge opened for public use on October 22, 1958.
- Ownership history of this bridge crossing:
- Columbia Delaware Bridge Company (privately owned toll bridge), February 1, 1869 to May 2, 1927.
- Joint ownership by Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and State of New Jersey (publicly owned free crossing funded by annual state tax subsidies) – May 2, 1927 to July 1, 1987
- Owned and operated by the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (“toll-supported bridge” funded by a share of proceeds annually collected at the Commission’s toll bridges) — since July 1, 1987.
- New Jersey abutment: Columbia section of Knowlton Township, Warren County, N.J.
- Pennsylvania abutment: Borough of Portland, Northampton County, PA.
- Structure Length: 774 feet
- Width: 9 feet, six inches
- Structure type: Continuous steel through-deck girder bridge
A bridge at or near this location was formally proposed in 1816, but it took 53 years before a structure was completed and opened for use.
A series of ferries operated at this point along the river during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These operations include Dill’s Ferry, Goodwin’s Ferry, and Decker’s Ferry.
The settlement on the river’s Pennsylvania side became known as Dill’s Ferry and was a small portion of Mount Bethel Township through three-quarters of the 18th century. When a railroad was constructed through the area in the mid-19th century, the location became known for a time as Columbia Station — a reference to the hamlet on the opposite side of the river.
Columbia was previously known as “Kirkbrides” owing to the original landowner being a man named John Kirkbride. The hamlet was a small section of Knowlton Towship, a sprawling municipality in what was then Sussex County. Knowlton became part of Warren County when it was established in 1824.
The original structure, constructed in 1869 as a vehicular bridge, was a four-span timber bridge reinforced with wooden arches. The entire structure was protected from the weather by a wooden shed surmounted by a slate roof.
On December 1, 1953, all vehicular traffic formerly using this structure was rerouted over the new Portland-Columbia Toll Bridge, constructed just south of the old bridge. The last of its kind on the Delaware River, three spans of this historical timber bridge floated off its piers during Hurricane Diane in August 1955. The present four-span continuous, thru-deck girder superstructure was constructed along with pier and abutment revisions in 1957-58. The former bridge lighting was removed and replaced in 1990 with high-mast lighting at each approach. In 1996, new approach guide rails and an ADA access ramp were added to the New Jersey side. More recently, in 1998, this pedestrian bridge, as well as the main river vehicular toll bridge, was blast cleaned and painted.