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by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Contractors poured concrete early Wednesday morning in a milestone for the new TriMet transit bridge over the Willamette River. The bridge will carry MAX trains to Southeast Portland and Milwaukie.The first segment of the concrete deck of the new Willamette River transit bridge was poured on Wednesday, marking another major milestone in the construction of the Portland-to-Milwaukie light-rail project.

The concrete was poured into a large movable metal box called a "form traveler." It is 16 feet by 75 feet and able to support 200 tons of concrete. It temporarily bolts into place and fills with concrete in the shape of a deck segment. When the concrete has cured for 24 hours, suspension cables are attached to the completed segment and the form traveler is moved farther along the deck alignment.

Two form travelers are alternated on each side of the bridge towers to maintain the balance of the deck while it is being poured. A total of 78 segments will be poured over the next year and a half to complete the deck.

The bridge is part of the new MAX line that will connect downtown Portland to Milwaukie and Oak Grove in Clackamas County. The total cost for the project is around $1.5 billion. The project is approximately 35 percent complete. It is scheduled to open in the fall 2015.by: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Workers began the concrete pour Wednesday morning on a new transit bridge over the Willamette River that will carry MAX trains and streetcars.

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