Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on January 26th, 2011 at 10:59 am
UPDATE: The lower deck has been re-opened as of about 2:45pm on Wednesday.
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Portland Bureau of Transportation: EMERGENCY CLOSURE OF LOWER DECK OF STEEL BRIDGE - Closed to pedestrians and bicyclists.
Effective immediately, the gates on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge are closed and locked on both the west and the east ends of the bridge. The lower deck will remain inaccessible to both pedestrians and bicyclists until the problem can be identified and repairs made. Electricians are currently on the scene investigating the problem.
The bridge operator notified the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) at 10:30 a.m. today that the automatic gates that control pedestrian and bicycle access to the Pedestrian Esplanade Crossing on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge are not closing completely, which creates a hazard for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the bridge. Therefore, it was necessary to close and lock the two manual gates to the Pedestrian Esplanade Crossing.
The automated gates control access for pedestrians and bicyclists. With the automated gates not closing completely, a gap is created at the gates that pedestrians and bicyclists could squeeze through and be at risk during a bridge lift. Therefore, PBOT has closed the large manual gates at each end so that pedestrians and bicyclists cannot get onto the Esplanade Crossing and cross through the gate that is not closed properly.
Pedestrians and bicyclists are advised to use an alternate route or cross the Steel Bridge on the upper deck. Be especially cautious and safely share the walkways because they are narrow. Bicyclists may also take the lane on the bridge roadway. Alternative routes include the Broadway, Burnside, or Morrison bridges.
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