Pristine Blumenauer Bridge ready for its close up
The Portland Bureau of Transportation gave the media and the congressman a sneak peek of the Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge Monday. While pedestrians and skateboarders have already hopped the fences to use the bridge, it officially opens Sunday, July 31, with a series of bike rides and plaza parties on and nearby the $19 million bridge.
Dubbed as "a car-free connection between two of the Rose City's fastest growing neighborhoods" (the Lloyd Center and the Central East Side). The congressman posed with his Cannondale bicycle, then walked north and south along the bridge, talking to architects, engineers and construction workers.
Some things stood out immediately:
Bridge architect John Breshears, who worked closely with engineer Craig Totten's team at KPFF, said the bridge almost exactly matched the initial back-of-the-envelope sketch they made after their first day riding their bikes around the site. "That's extraordinarily unusual," Breshears said. He is also very proud of the leaning rail. "It's a big, elliptical piece of steel, and we worked hard to make sure that wasn't value engineered out to save money."
Congressman Blumenauer talked about the area's history and how Los Angeles oil tycoon Ralph Lloyd bought land around Sullivan Gulch, intending the Lloyd neighborhood to be an extension of downtown. He added that the bridge, which will be part of the future six-mile linear park called the Green Loop, has been part of Blumenauer's vision since he was commissioner of public works for the City of Portland thirty years ago. "This opens up the connection big time. The anchor is going to be the (Lloyd Center) mall opening it up and making it more diverse, including a lot of housing."
Blumenauer added, "It's an addition to a great network of non-motorized transportation, and when the big one (earthquake) hits, this the only bridge across I-84 which will remain standing. It can take emergency vehicles — it's a little wider (24 feet) — and it will make a big difference for our community."
When: 11:30 am, Sunday, July 31. Visitors are encouraged to arrive by 11:30 a.m.
Where: The Northeast Seventh Avenue and Northeast Flanders Street intersection on the south side of the bridge.
What: Community celebration and Blumenauer Bridge opening ceremony.
For updates contact ODOT
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