Sellwood Bridge is Back on Track

The balanced Sellwood Bridge design — the design preferred by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance — was approved at this morning’s County Board of Commissioners meeting. There is more cost-cutting to be done and some details to be worked out but, with the helpful ongoing oversight of our Project Advisory Council member Richard Marantz, we trust that the bridge we see proposed today will be the bridge that opens in 2015. Project Manager Ian Cannon told us today that value engineering after this point is unlikely to impact the user experience in any way.


Image: Biking and walking facilities as shown at the pre-construction open house in September 2011.

Here’s the press release from Multnomah County:

Release:   July 19, 2012
Contact:   Mike Pullen, Communications Office, 503-209-4111,

Multnomah County approves Sellwood Bridge final design

Multnomah County’s Board of County Commissioners approved the final design for the new Sellwood Bridge today, advancing the $299 million project to the construction phase.

The final design includes:

  • Steel deck arch bridge
  • A symmetrical bridge deck design with two traffic lanes, two bike lane/shoulders, and two multi-use raised paths for bicyclists and pedestrians
  • One-stage bridge construction using a detour bridge
  • New access to Macadam Bay floating homes on the south side of Freeman Motors
  • Westside regional trail along trolley line from bridge to S.W. Miles Place
  • Limited bridge closure during construction

Construction of the detour bridge and landslide mitigation are in progress.  Construction of the work bridge for the new bridge and excavation work on Highway 43 are expected to begin in late summer.  The new bridge is expected to open to traffic in 2015, with project completion scheduled for early 2016.  The project will employ as many as 470 people during construction.

Noting a recent public discussion of project cost saving ideas, County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury encouraged the project team to continue to search for savings, while seeking public input.  “I’m happy that people are thinking of ways to save money to make changes to the project,” Kafoury said. “And I’m also happy to have the opportunity to listen to the community when they say we don’t want those changes.”

County Chair Jeff Cogen noted the difficulties of building a major project with limited public resources.  “Our challenge is making sure we have a bridge that will last on beyond all of our lives and is worthy of the work, and at the same time balances scarce public resources,” he said. “It’s not an easy balance but I think today we have made the right decision.”

For project information, visit  Multnomah County maintains the Sellwood Bridge and leads the project to replace it.

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Comments (1)

  1. Peter Smith Permalink  | Jul 19, 2012 04:52pm

    That seems like an…interesting street design.

    Can cars use it?

    No separation for the bike lanes?