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TriMet is hard at work on a second overhead crossing to get past railroad tracks in the vicinity of Brooklyn

RITA A. LEONARD - The new south support tower for the new Gideon Street overcrossing arrived on a big rig on January 27. As confirmed by TriMet's Public Information Officer, Tyler Graf, much progress has recently been made on constructing the new 24-foot-high Gideon Street pedestrian and bike overpass just north of the Brooklyn neighborhood.

The structure is designed to span both MAX light rail and the Union Pacific tracks at S.E. Gideon Street between 14th Avenue and 13th Place. The overhead bridge span was placed with a crane on February 13 at 1 a.m., to minimize the impact on traffic. RITA A. LEONARD - TriMet's Tyler Graf joined THE BEE in watching the south support tower for the new overcrossing being raised January 27. Graf tells THE BEE, "The two towers on S.E. 14th Avenue were raised on January 22nd, and a third tower was erected at 13th and Gideon Street on January 27th. The bridge's main span was installed on February 13th using a 155-foot boom crane, and crews placed the south elevator tower on Gideon Street, adjacent to Portland Fire Bureau Engine House 23, on February 17th."

The new overcrossing replaces a wood and concrete pedestrian overpass near S.E. 16th Avenue which was demolished back in 2013 to make room for the MAX Orange Line construction. Scores of pedestrians and bicyclists for seven years have been forced to cross the tracks in an inconvenient situation at S.E. 11th and 12th Avenues, monitored by flashing red lights and railroad barrier arms. Many of those crossing ignored safety concerns in order to cross the tracks.

"When construction of the MAX Orange Line finished 'under budget' in 2015, TriMet sought approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to use the remaining money to construct a replacement pedestrian and bike bridge," Graf reports. "With strong support from the surrounding community, the backing of the City of Portland, and help from Senator Jeff Merkley, the FTA approved the project in 2017. There is no public art planned at the site of this project."

RITA A. LEONARD - By the afternoon on February 17th, all four towers were at both ends of the new Gideon Street bike and pedestrian rail overcrossing. Eventually there will be stairways and elevators at both ends. Construction will continue through this summer. The new overpass will be similar to the Rhine-Lafayette pedestrian and bike bridge which was completed in 2015. It will be serviced by stairs and two glass-enclosed elevators. Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to choose between using elevators or stairways at both ends of the 103-foot-long truss-style bridge. People with wheelchairs, strollers, and other mobility devices will have plenty of room inside the lifts, which will include two entrances to allow bicycles to pass through without having to turn around.

Graf adds, "This is a joint project between TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). Construction will continue through the summer, with the overall cost expected to be $15 million. We anticipate the bridge, situated a few feet above the overhead MAX wires, will be open to the public by October 2020.

"The City of Portland will own and operate the structure, providing a north-south link connecting the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood to the Willamette River, and completing the City's vision of the 'Clinton to the River' project. Next, crews plan to install structures, canopies, and electrical systems to connect each elevator tower to the bridge deck and support towers." THE BEE will continue to follow this project to completion.


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