The bridge was designed by Lacy V. Murrow, R. W. Finke, and Clark H. Eldridge of the Washington State Department of Highways, and is the only bridge to span just part of the Columbia. Craig Holstine and Richard Hobbs describe the structure:
"When built it consisted of four steel spans, including a through-truss cantilever more than 400 feet long, nine timber-deck truss spans of 90 feet each, and 323 feet of timber trestle approaches on the Puget Island side" (Spanning Washington).
The timber trestle approaches were later replaced with concrete approaches. The bridge is 2,433 feet long and clears the river by 60 feet.
People marked the opening with a five-day-long celebration. President Franklin D. Roosevelt began festivities by cutting the ribbon remotely by telegraph from the White House.