by: COURTESY OF TRIMET - Artist's rendition of the replacement Lafayette Bridge that begins construction in Southeast Portland on July 29.Work will begin on a replacement pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks near Southeast Lafayette Street on Tuesday.

The bridge, which was originally built by Union Pacific in approximately 1943, is being replaced as part of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project. Construction will cost $3.9 million. The MAX project is contributing $2.2 million and Union Pacific is committing $1.7 million.

The replacement bridge will be ADA compliant and provide a safer, more up-to-date connection to such neighborhood destinations as Cleveland High School and the Fred Meyer corporate headquarters building. The alignment will be at Rhine and Lafayette streets, to line up with the new signalized pedestrian crossing of the future SE 17th Ave. & Rhine St. MAX station.

The project will require a pedestrian detour until the new bridge is completed in spring 2015.

New features and improvements include:

• An elevator with glass cabs to increase visibility and improve security. The elevators will be large enough to accommodate bicycles with trailers or a child’s tag-along attachment. They will have two doors that allow bicyclists to enter and exit the elevator without having to turn around.

• The bridge span width will be increased from 6 feet wide to 12 feet wide. Stair width will be increased two feet to 8 feet.

• The stairs will be straightened to provide clear sight lines.

• Closed-circuit television cameras and improved lighting will be added.

• Bike gutters will provide greater ease to move bicycles up and down stairs.

• Public art inspired by the adjacent rail yard and incorporating poetry written in conjunction with Cleveland High School students.

The $1.5 billion Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project. The 7.3 mile line will run from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University in downtown Portland to South Waterfront, Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County. It will include 10 stations and the first of its kind multi-modal bridge in the United States that will carry light rail and streetcar trains, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians, but no private vehicles.

The news line is scheduled to open on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2015. Project partners include: the Federal Transit Administration, the State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, the City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, the City of Oregon City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the City of Portland, the Portland Development Commission and TriMet.

A map of the pedestrian detour can be found at

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