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Drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians need to watch for new directions
by: Courtesy of TriMet, A map shows traffic changes that await drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians when the Steel Bridge reopens Monday.

The Steel Bridge reopened Monday with several changes to the upper deck that affect crossing options for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.

The bridge was closed for three weeks as part of the Transit Mall renovation project that is bringing a new MAX light-rail line downtown. The closure was necessary to connect the new line to the existing rails that carry MAX trains between downtown and the east side of the Willamette River.

TriMet buses are not scheduled to begin crossing the bridge again until Aug. 31.

According to TriMet, traffic changes will affect cars, trucks and buses when the bridge reopens:

• Cars, trucks and buses will travel only in the outside lanes of the bridge.

• A new signal at the east entrance to the bridge will regulate the merging of westbound bus traffic with car and truck traffic.

• A new signal at the bottom of the Glisan Street ramp will control vehicle traffic turning left over new light-rail tracks to enter Northwest Third Avenue or continuing west on Northwest Glisan Street.

• The existing signal where the Naito Parkway ramp merges with the bridge will be removed. Eastbound traffic from Northwest Everett Street and Naito Parkway will merge to one lane.

• Vehicles longer than 50 feet will not be allowed to cross the Steel Bridge going west.

• New signs, curbs and striping will inform drivers of these changes.

In addition, bicyclists and pedestrians should be aware of these changes:

• With the addition of light-rail tracks on the Glisan ramp, the north sidewalk shifted north. The existing narrow sidewalk, along with localized narrowing on the shifted section, will require bicyclists to yield to pedestrians.

• The optimal route for pedestrians and cyclists remains the lower deck of the bridge.

• New signs at the east entrance of the bridge will highlight the existing accessibility route via the Eastbank Esplanade ramp and the lower deck of the bridge.

The renovation project is scheduled to be completed next fall.

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