TriMet: Steel Bridge to reopen Sunday
TriMet is on schedule to wrap up its Steel Bridge MAX Improvement Project this weekend. It is scheduled to reopen Sunday.
For the past month, crews have been working hard to make necessary upgrades on the bridge and MAX rail lines. Saturday, TriMet will be testing the newly rebuilt light rail system. There will be more lane closures on the east side of the bridge so that crews have more space to do those tests.
TriMet said the project has gone smoothly.
"What people are going to notice once the system opens again is a smoother ride, few delays and disruptions — basically a faster more reliable system," Tyler Graf of TriMet said.
The improvement project was intended to replace 8,680 feet of rail, as well as update the signaling system and safety features to improve reliability. The lower deck of the bridge remained open to cyclists and pedestrians throughout the construction.
The Steel Bridge is owned by the Union Pacific Railroad. Opened in 1912, it is now one of the most multimodal bridges in the world. The lower deck carries railroad and bicycle/pedestrian traffic, while the upper deck carries road, light rail and bus traffic. It is also the only double-deck bridge in the world with independent lifts, and the second oldest vertical-lift bridge in North America, after the nearby Hawthorne Bridge.
Despite the project, TriMet is considering rerouting MAX traffic from the Steel Bridge to a tunnel under downtown Portland in the future. Metro, the elected regional government, has tentatively included $50 million to study such a project in the transportation funding measure it referred to the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
KOIN News 6 is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their story can be found here.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.