Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on July 27th, 2010 at 10:29 pm
(Photo © J. Maus)
Just got word from the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation that effective immediately, the gates on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge are closed, making the lower deck of the bridge inaccessible to both biking and walking traffic on both the east and west ends of the bridge.
This is a big deal because the Steel Bridge is the detour route for the Broadway Bridge, which is closed to all vehicles due to streetcar construction.
PBOT spokesperson Cheryl Kuck says the lower deck gates will remain locked through tonight and she doesn’t expect them to open until after tomorrow’s morning commute. A structures engineer is slated to evaluate the issue at first light. No other details about the nature of the issue is known at this time, but the malfunctioning gates do pose a significant safety hazard.
The upper deck of the bridge is still accessible. There is a “Bikes on Bridge Roadway” sign on the upper deck and people on bikes are allowed to ride in the lane. There is also a narrow sidewalk on each side.
PBOT says, “Pedestrians and bicycles using the narrow walkways on the upper deck are advised to be extra cautious and share them safely.” Stay tuned for more information.
UPDATE: As of 12 noon the gates are still closed. Lots of confusion down ther and still no warnin at detour signs.
UPDATE: The gates have been reopened. Here’s the statement from PBOT:
The pedestrian gates on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge are now OPEN, making the lower deck of the bridge accessible again to both pedestrians and bicycles on both the east and the west ends of the bridge.
The lower deck gates were closed and locked late Tuesday night due to an operational problem. All four of the automatic gates for the bridge lift were stopping before they were completely closed, leaving a gap of one foot or so. A structures engineer this morning did not find any obvious mechanical issues with the gates adjacent to the bridge lift structure. The problem was then referred to electricians, who determined a problem with the proximity sensors and completed necessary repairs.
Transportation is aware of the poor condition of the three bridge warning/closure signs – one on the west end of the bridge, two on the east end. The signs have been so vandalized that they need to be replaced to be effective. Transportation is beginning the process to replace the signs.
More coverage over on the Hard Drive blog.