New mass-transit bridge would service light rail, bicyclists

Credit: Photo courtesy: TriMet

A new mass-transit bridge would serve bicyclists, pedestrians and TriMet transportation.



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 3:26 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 6 at 1:22 PM

Video: Final bridge designs

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Bridgetown is one step closer to yet another Willamette River crossing.

Portland leaders have narrowed down a design for a mass transit-only bridge after months of debate.

The bridge would span the Willamette River, between the Marquem Bridge and the Ross Island Bridge in Southeast Portland, according to transportation officials. Slideshow:

The hybrid cable-suspension bridge would only service TriMet buses, MAX light rail, streetcars, bicycles and pedestrians. Other vehicles would not be allowed to use the span.

City officials aim to provide 10 new TriMet access stations between Portland and Milwaukie to service the campuses of Portland State University, Oregon Health Sciences University and OMSI.

"In the four-county area, 1 million more people are expected here by 2030," TriMet project developer David Unsworth said. "We're not able to build the road capacity we can so this really will help getting from here to there."

But a lot of work still needs to be accomplished.

TriMet hopes construction may begin in two years, with the bridge opening in 2015.

A committee meeting, including public comment, was scheduled Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Residents were invited.

Ten bridges currently span the Willamette in and around downtown Portland. The mass transit crossing would be the first new bridge built in Portland in 30 years, officials said.