Right on the heels of a July 21 TriMet announcement that track and street construction on 5th and 6th avenues had been completed, the Portland transportation giant has also announced that the Steel Bridge will be out of service for most of August. The construction project on 5th and 6th avenues has now moved on to its next phase, consisting of station and sidewalk finishing work.
Right on the heels of a July 21 TriMet announcement that track and street construction on 5th and 6th avenues had been completed, the Portland transportation giant has also announced that the Steel Bridge will be out of service for most of August.
The construction project on 5th and 6th avenues has now moved on to its next phase, consisting of station and sidewalk finishing work.
Crews will be erecting poles and overhead wires, installing traffic signals, ticket machines and bus shelters, as well as restoring sidewalks and rebuilding curb ramps.
As TriMet’s crews continue their work, TriMet Communications Director Mary Fetsch says the construction will continue on for “easily the next year,” but will not overly impact commuters along the roads.
“For the overhead wires, we’re just working in our right of way. 5th and 6th end-to-end is open to motorists, and sidewalk impact is minimal,” Fetsch said.
TriMet plans to begin routing buses back on to the 5th and 6th avenue transit mall sometime in the spring of 2009, with a projected start time for the new light rail through Portland State campus to begin in September of the same year.
“I think that’s going to be excellent,” PSU Transportation Offices Coordinator Ian Stude said of the projected transportation changes.
Stude said he believes that with the return of TriMet’s buses to 5th and 6th avenues a large portion of Portland State students will once again utilize the buses running through campus.
“It’s really going to centralize our campus around 6th Avenue,” Stude said.
And while one road re-opens, elsewhere, another shuts down for about a month.
On the heels of their downtown bus mall progress report, TriMet announced their closure of the Steel Bridge for almost the entire month of August.
The bridge is scheduled to close Saturday, August 2, and re-open Sunday, August 24, while TriMet’s construction crews work to connect existing light rail tracks to the new Green Line route on 5th and 6th avenues.
While free shuttles will be running during standard MAX hours of operation to transport riders over the river, Fetsch said the lower deck of the Steel Bridge will also be a viable option for bikers and foot traffic looking to cross.
“Probably just as fast as taking the shuttle is walking across the Steel Bridge,” Fetch said, “or biking, which is even faster.”
Fetsch added that those looking to cross on foot or bike should be aware that the lower-deck traffic, denser during the warm summer months, will most likely be more congested during the upper-level closure.
“A lot of people are walking or riding their bikes there anyway,” she said.
Stude advised for walkers and cyclists to remain patient when faced with slow-ups in traffic on the bridge, and to plan ahead for a longer commute to class.
“I think it will definitely add a small amount of time to people’s commute,” he said.
Westbound commuters may also experience slight delays or more crowded conditions on trips to and from Portland. With the Steel Bridge closed, there will be no Red Line service from downtown to Beaverton, which means four less MAX trips an hour each way between the city center and the suburbs.