PORTLAND Crews in Southwest Portland have reached a major milestone in the $35 million project to replace viaducts north of the Terwilliger Curves.

Northbound traffic was shifted onto the new permanent bridge at Iowa Street early Tuesday.

The changeover represents a major milestone in the $35 million project to replace the deteriorating 55-year-old viaducts at milepost 298, just north of the Terwilliger Curves, said Don Hamilton, spokesman for the Oregon Department of Transportation. The new viaducts will meet today s roadway and seismic standards with wider shoulders, wider center medians and new retaining walls.

He explained that southbound traffic will remain on the temporary bridge while crews build a new permanent southbound bridge.

The project is scheduled for completion by mid-2014. It was created in an effort to strengthen the span of I-5 traveled by about 145,000 vehicles every day. The new bridges were also designed to better withstand a powerful earthquake, if one were to hit in the Portland area.

After the bridges are completed, crews will re-landscape the area beneath them and add a network of hiking trails.

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