COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE - The historic Vista House that overlooks the Columbia River Gorge will be closed to the public for the rest of the year.
Crews will be working on restoring the deteriorating viaduct, and its support columns, that encircles the building. According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, the viaduct's walls could fail if the work isn't done. The building itself is sound.
During the next three months, the highway from Larch Mountain Road to Latourell Falls will be closed to all pedestrians and vehicles, including bicycles. The road from Latourell Falls to Bridal Veil Falls will remain open but will be closed to vehicles longer than 25 feet.
This is the first phase of the project and the closure will last until Dec. 31. The Vista House will reopen to the public on Jan. 1, 2013 but will close again on April 1, 2013 for the second phase of the project.
The Vista House was built in 1917, just after the Historic Columbia River Highway opened. It was recently restored in 2005.