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No Cars Allowed on Portland Bridge

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

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If you’re jogging, walking, cycling, on a bus or the city’s light rail transit system and expect to cross the Portland’s newest bridge, you’re in luck. But if you’re expecting to drive across in your own personal vehicle, think again.

A new “pedestrian-only” bridge in Portland, OR, officially opened Saturday (Sept. 12). Touted as one that “highlights green traits” of the city, according to the Register-Guard, it is also the city’s first new bridge in 40 years.

The public got an advance preview of the new Tilikum Crossing bridge in August, at which time the scope of the project was captured on video via drone.

The Tilikum Crossing in Portland, OR, will carry pedestrians, cyclists, light rail, buses and streetcars, but no private cars are permitted on the bridge deck.

Leah Treat, director of Portland Bureau of Transportation told CityLab on Sept. 11, “We have really ambitious goals of reducing carbon emissions, getting people to take transit or walk or bike. It’s just a perfect symbol of our values in this community.”

A Purpose-Built Bridge

As Popular Mechanics reported, because the bridge doesn’t need to carry enough lanes for vehicular traffic to cross, the bridge itself is only 75.5 feet wide. The width includes the two 14-foot-wide bike and pedestrian paths on each side.

The narrow bridge, short 180-foot towers, together gave the concrete contractor a challenge, as the 78 cast-in-place bridge segments were each accompanied by “an exacting 577-page construction manual,” the magazine added.

The article also noted that the all-concrete construction required “exacting pours and finishes” because the people using the bridge will be getting a more intimate view of the work than usual.

The triangular effect created by the 3.5 miles of cable running through the pylons is mean to reflect Mt. Hood, while the design of the bridge deck itself cuts wind to make for a more pleasant crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

The $134.6 million bridge makes use of some interesting technology, the Register-Guard reports. An LED lighting system on the bridge makes use of data from the U.S. Geological Survey to change the colors of the lights based on the seasons as well as the height, speed and temperature of the river it crosses.

The base color is selected according to water temperature; the frequency of color change and movement is affected by the speed of the water movement, and the water height controls the color that runs up and down the cables and towers of the bridge.

A Bridge for the People

Known as Tilikum Crossing, the 1,720-foot bridge crossing the Willamette River takes its name from the regional Native American language Chinook Wawa, in which Tilikum means “people, tribe and relatives.”

By MojaveNC / CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Because the bridge doesn’t need to carry enough lanes to accomodate vehicular traffic, the bridge itself is only a narrow 75.5 feet wide.

According to Popular Mechanics, the bridge is owned by TriMet, the area’s public transit agency, which made use of the lack of roadway infrastructure in that particular area to build a bridge to carry its Orange Line across the river.

Pedestrians and cyclists will benefit from about $65 million allotted for upgrades from sidewalks to bike lanes, CityLab reported. They each get their own lanes, identified via paint markings or physical separations, in addition to dedicated bike traffic signals and improved connectivity for pedestrians on both ends of the bridge.

In addition to TriMet’s Orange Line light rail service, which has a dedicated lane on the bridge, buses will be allowed to cross, and the Portland streetcar will also be able to use the bridge.

These are important developments, CityLab says, because the new structure now connects the Southwest Waterfront “knowledge district” that houses Portland State and Oregon Health & Science University with the Central East Side. Now that both sides of the river are connected in this area, they are expected to support one another through new housing, jobs, and businesses.

“They now have a way to access each other,” Treat told the site. “It’s going to be incredible to watch activity on that bridge.”


Tagged categories: Asia Pacific; Bridges; Concrete Surfacing; Construction; Design; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Program/Project Management; Rail

Comment from Antonio Leal, (9/15/2015, 9:15 AM)

finally an attitude to the automotive industry start thinking, manufacture automobiles, but not make roads because so many factories? Then must change as the tobacco industries did.

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