Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 31st, 2010 at 11:48 pm
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has announced that as of about 10:00 pm tonight (Saturday), the gates that close during bridge lifts on each end of the lower deck of the Steel Bridge are closed to all traffic. PBOT hired electricians to analyze the problem on Sunday and they have determined that the culprit is a bad motor on one of the gates. Since the part is not on-hand, PBOT says they’ll have to order it which means the gates — and lower deck bridge access — will be closed until Wednesday afternoon (8/4) or Thursday morning..
According to a traffic alert issued by PBOT at 10:06 pm on Saturday, the bridge operator closed the gates because of safety concerns: “The four automatic lift gates are not closing completely, which creates a hazard for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the bridge.”
The Broadway Bridge to the north remains closed due to streetcar construction, so the upper deck of the Steel Bridge — either on the sidewalks or taking the lane on the bridge roadway — is the preferred route until the issue is resolved. The Burnside Bridge to the south might also be a good alternative.
This sounds very similar to a problem with the gates that caused them to be closed last Tuesday night. That closure lasted from about 10:30 pm until about 1:00 pm the following day. Many people were not aware of the closure and no signs were erected to tell people to use an alternate route. Also, traffic was heavy on the narrow sidewalks on the upper deck of the bridge which were shared by people jogging, walking and biking.
We’ll keep you posted if/when the problem gets figured out and the gates are re-opened.
UPDATE, Monday 8/2 at 5:35pm: The lower deck has been re-opened. Here’s the latest from PBOT:
Portland Bureau of Transportation: STEEL BRIDGE LOWER DECK RE-OPENED – Effective immediately, the lower deck of the Steel Bridge is open. The malfunctioning motor identified by electricians on Sunday was replaced today by a re-built motor provided by Metro Security Access Control. The lower deck is now accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists on each end of the bridge.
Because the motor replaced today is just one of the four original motors powering the gates on the lower deck, PBOT is working on a plan to replace all of them so that this problem does not continue.