PORTLAND -- The latest phase of the Sellwood Bridge construction project has made a big impact on Southwest Portland commuters.

The ramp from the bridge to southbound Highway 43 closed Tuesday morning so crews could begin to construct the interchange for the new bridge.

Drivers who need to go south onto Oregon 43 off the bridge will be diverted north to Taylor's Ferry Road and then have to circle back.

For Tuesday's commute, there were long lines of vehicles and brake lights westbound on the Sellwood Bridge as flaggers stopped traffic ahead of the detour.

More: See expanded version of detour maps

Multnomah County transportation planners for the $307 million project called this an unusual detour. They warned that it will tack on at least 10 minutes. A traffic light may be readjusted to speed up wait times.

The ramp closure has also backed up traffic for Lake Oswego commuters headed into downtown Portland.

Cyclist Lorne Christopherson tried unsuccessfully to avoid the traffic backup.

I came down Terwilliger thinking there would be no problem, and it was backed up halfway up Terwilliger, Christopherson said. It's just ridiculous but they've got to get it done. But I stay away from it. I go the other way. I go through downtown or cut through here and go up Terwilliger.

The new bridge and the new two-level interchange is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2015. The current bridge is 87 years old.

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