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Freeway will now be open the July 9 weekend as train woes push installation of the Congressman Earl Blumenauer Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge.

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - The Earl Blumenauer bridge, waiting to be installed on the weekend of July 9, 2021.

Don't save the date.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation's Congressman Earl Blumenauer Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge will not now be lifted and rolled into place over Sullivan's Gulch the weekend of July 9.

PBOT announced Wednesday that the date has been pushed back to an unknown time while they wrestle with the owners of the railroad alongside the freeway.

In a statement the road agency said, "The project team has determined that there is additional coordination work to do in planning the bridge installation, which will stretch 400 feet across Sullivan's Gulch, including over I-84 and Union Pacific Railroad tracks. The bridge will run approximately along the NE 7th Avenue alignment. A new date will be announced when it becomes available."

PBOT intended to close the freeway from 10 p.m. Friday, July 9, to 5 a.m. Monday, July 12. Now it will be open.

The bridge had to cross eight freeway lanes, but other constraints were not evident to the passer-by. Oregon Department of Transportation rules said it has to stay at least 17.5 feet above the roadway (it will be 40 feet), and the railroad company Union Pacific says it must be at least 23 feet over the tracks. ODOT didn't want any bridge support built on the south embankment if they ever want to widen the freeway. PBOT owns the north embankment and said it was OK to build support there.

"The span lands quickly, in as short a distance as possible after it's cleared the Union Pacific tracks," structural engineer Craig Totten told the Tribune in May. "So that's why the intermediate support drops down on the floor."

When complete, the Blumenauer Bridge will connect pedestrians and bikers on Northeast Seventh Avenue between two of Portland's fastest growing neighborhoods — Lloyd and the Central Eastside — and beyond. In the future it also will serve as an important link for Portland's Green Loop.

The bridge is tentatively scheduled to open to the public in early 2022.

COURTESY GRAPHIC:  PORTLAND BUREAU OF TRANSPORTATION - Expect delays July 9 and 10 2021 as the Earl Blumenauer Bridge is installed over I-84 in Sullivan's Gulch. The bridge opens in early 2022.


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