Metro set to approve funding for new bridge
Last month, Metro's Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation formally endorsed Gladstone's request for $1.2 million for the design, engineering and permitting to reconstruct the Trolley Bridge.
City officials are hoping to get the bridge designed in the next couple years, and then begin construction shortly thereafter using a separate pot of funding to be approved by Metro-area voters next year. Officially, there is one step remaining before the first decision is final — the Metro Board is scheduled to make its formal vote on Gladstone's bridge design dollars on Jan. 16.
"But I am told that their approval is virtually certain," said Gladstone administrator Jacque Betz, noting that Metro councilors sit on JPACT, which voted unanimously for the project.
The Trolley Bridge would extend the Trolley Trail from Milwaukie, currently dead-ending in Gladstone, across the Clackamas River to Oregon City. Union Pacific's abandoned trolley bridge at the site collapsed in 2014.
The project is a high priority due to the high rate of crashes along McLoughlin Boulevard (Highway 99E), which has a dangerously narrow sidewalk to cross the Clackamas River. There were 133 serious injuries and fatalities involving people traveling on the McLoughlin corridor between 2007 and 2017.
Assuming final authorization to design the bridge, Gladstone will begin negotiations on intergovernmental agreements with Metro and Clackamas County in February. Formal design work managed by the county will start in late 2020.
Meanwhile a Metro Task Force has officially endorsed inclusion of the construction of the bridge in a transportation bond package being proposed to voters in 2020. The recommendation of potential funding includes $10 million to construct the Trolley Trail Bridge and $5 million for Gladstone's main street (Portland Avenue).
In a letter to support the inclusion of the McLoughlin Corridor in the 2020 transportation package, Mayor Tammy Stempel said McLoughlin has long suffered from the domination of cars and trucks.
"We believe that the Trolley Trail represents an opportunity to catalyze positive change in the area, spurring patterns of development that better align with our region's growth principles — higher density, mixed-use developement, transit supportiveness and walkability," Stempel wrote.
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