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The public is invited to learn more about the earthquake-ready project and to weigh in on the design options.

COURTESY PHOTO: MULTNOMAH COUNTY - Artist renderings of the four replacement Burnside Bridge designs under consideration.Multnomah County is hosting an online open house on the four choices for a new earthquake-ready Burnside Bridge.

The open house, which continues through Sunday, Feb. 21, includes artists renderings of the bridge types under considering, including the long-span design favored by 88% of the public in a 2020 survey. Also included is the county's first 360-degree video also shows how the different types would look, superimposed in the setting of today's bridge. Viewers can shift the screen view 360 degrees using their computer mouse, moving their cell phone or wearing a VR headset.

After learning about the bridge types and evaluation criteria, open house attendees can share their preferences and other considerations.

Despite the survey results, the project's Community Task Force recently recommended that a range of bridge types be evaluated before one is recommended this spring. All need to have a center movable span and adjoining approach spans that touch down on the east and west sides of the Willamette River. Options include:

• A movable span that can be either a bascule design — a moveable bridge with a counterweight that continuously balances a span, like the current Burnside Bridge — or a vertical lift drawbridge like the Hawthorne Bridge.

• The east approach span — the longest at around 650 feet — can be either a tied arch (like the Fremont Bridge), cable supported (like Tilikum Crossing) or a truss (like the Hawthorne Bridge).

• On the west approach span — at approximately 425 feet — the same three types being considered for the east span are possible, plus a girder design that would not require a superstructure above the bridge deck.

Multnomah County in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration will publish the project's Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the next few weeks. Once published, there will be a 45-day public comment period. Comments can be made through the project website, email, voicemail and in-person by appointment.

Multnomah County maintains the Burnside Bridge and leads the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project. The current environmental review phase should be completed in late 2021. Design work will begin in 2022 and construction could start in 2024, pending funding. For project information including a link to the bridge type open house, visit the website.

A previous Portland Tribune story on the project can be found here.


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