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Bridge work means detour to Marine Drive

Posted by on March 25th, 2006 at 6:38 am

[Demo in progress. Photo: Paul Gorlick, PDOT]

The NE 33rd Street bridge over Lombard Street was demolished last week, closing bike access to Marine Drive, a popular destination for Portland cyclists. The old bridge had limited weight capacity so it had to go and according to Paul Gorlick of the Portland Office of Transportation, “it is not expected to reopen until late September 2006. NE 33rd Ave is closed to traffic between Dekum St and Columbia Boulevard.”

The detour is a bit tricky, so Paul has provided us with a nicely detailed map (PDF) they put together specifically for cyclists. I think it’s pretty great to live in a city where guys like Paul get in touch with the community to make sure bikes are taken care of during construction projects. Thanks Paul!

[Click image for PDF]

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

16 Comments
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    Ethan March 25, 2006 at 9:18 am

    I have been very curious to know what exactly the city is going to construct as a replacement, and if it will function better as a conduit to Columbia Blvd eastbound. The previous merge in that direction was VERY dangerous. Thanks for a great article!

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    nathan March 25, 2006 at 12:34 pm

    I ran into this on a bike ride last week. I would just reccomend avoiding the whole area if possible. the detour is pretty scary, but then again so was the previous intersection.

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    Patrick March 25, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    ” I think it’s pretty great to live in a city where guys like Paul get in touch with the community to make sure bikes are taken care of during construction projects.”

    I don’t know that I would say bike are being taken care of in this project.

    I rode this section Monday and unfortunately was going through there during a busy peak traffic time. I consider myself to be pretty comfortable riding in traffic and on the road.

    As for this section, I was scared as I have been in a long time.

    1st. The detour route is a bit confusing, and I don’t believe the detour signs I followed led me in the direction of this safer route.

    2. There is a very narrow shoulder to ride on. I had semi trucks and cars coming closer than I felt comfortable.

    3. I would propose signage specifically alerting traffic that bikes also are sharing the road in this detour.

    4. Additionally, and this may be a stretch, having this map posted on some type of temporary signage and the junctions would be most helpful.

    I’d take HW 30 any day over this section!!!!

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    Patrick March 25, 2006 at 12:59 pm

    I guess I should clarify that I was heading south from Marine Dr. It could have been that the route I took I missed the safer alternative. My point remains: Detouring cyclist from an area with bike lanes to a busy section with no bike lane or shoulder is an unacceptable solution.

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    Peter W March 25, 2006 at 2:29 pm

    Seems like plenty of bridges have to go these days because of “limited weight capacity” (this one, Sellwood and Sauvie Island). I’m curious just how much heavier vehicles are now then when these bridges were built. At least bikes are only getting lighter. 😉

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    ringer March 25, 2006 at 7:36 pm

    I don’t think the vehicles are getting any heaver, although the drivers are fatter. I know the Sellwood Bridge changed the weight limit because its old and falling apart. Seems age and heavy useage are the issues here. So you can’t just cross Lombard at 33rd? It is a four lane highway.

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    Dabby March 26, 2006 at 12:25 am

    Heavy Smeavy…….
    They don’t build bridges like they used to for a reason……..
    Deal with it… Ride a little farther……Off the “Beaten” path……
    I am still laughing at Ringer’s comment. He is so funny…

    Ok, what’s the score? It’s getting dark…

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  • the sLowdown March 26, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    Bridge Out — Detour Sucking…

    Kung-fu detour: Cross at 15th, carry your bike over the tracks and go out past the warehouse to Lombard Pl. …

    ……

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    Bill March 27, 2006 at 10:41 am

    If I were approching from the west or southwest, I would cross Lombard at 11th, take Lombard Pl. to Columbia, cross Columbia at 17th, go north and turn right on Argyle St./Dr. to 33rd Dr.

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    Jonathan Maus March 27, 2006 at 10:48 am

    Patrick,

    you said, “I don’t know that I would say bikes are being taken care of in this project.”

    I just thought it was cool that the head of the project took the time to make a personal phone call to me and supply me with info, photos and a detour map.

    That’s what I was referring to in my post. Whether or not the detour or the actual renovation will bike-friendly is a different topic.

    Ethan (and others),

    Here’s some additional info about the bridge from an email I received from project manager Paul Gorlick:

    “We are only replacing the south 25-30% of the length of the bridge (just the portion over Lombard). The ADT of 33rd really only requires two travel lanes
    plus bike lanes, which can be accommodated in 34′ (5′-12′-12′-5′) rather than the 44′ which currently exists. However, the new bridge will have the same 44′ width as before to line up with the configuration of the bridge and ramps to the north (on the part of the bridge not being rebuilt).

    At some point in the future when the rest of the bridge is replaced, the 34′ wide cross section would be established (by pulling in the curbs toward centerline).

    As you probably know, a few years ago the City established a 4” wide paint stripe on the “flyover” bridge that carries traffic down to 33rd Drive northbound or Columbia Blvd westbound. This was intended to function as an unofficial bike lane. It is not marked as a bike lane because of its substandard width. Our traffic engineering staff is reviewing possible restriping options for the main bridge south of the “flyover”.

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    Paul Gornick March 27, 2006 at 12:31 pm

    Hello, Riders!

    I apologize for the bike detour not being very well marked. We plan to add bike detour signs guiding bike traffic coming from the south on 33rd (to mark the Holman Street detour to 42nd).

    We realize that the connectivity from points south of Lombard to points north of is pretty crummy, and that the detour back to 33rd along Columbia Blvd is substandard.

    The funding source for this project was geared to removing weight restrictions (by the way, not just semi-trucks are the problem – buses and garbage truck impose very heavy loads on their single rear axles). Unfortunately, the only part of the 33rd bridge that had a problem was the span over Lombard. We would have loved to replace the whole complex and figured out a way to get bikes and peds safely to points to the north, but the particular funding source would only pay for the deficient part.

    Thanks,
    Paul

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    Patrick March 30, 2006 at 12:36 pm

    I’ll agree with that, Jonathan. Sounds like a lot of thinking went into that map. It was probably just the way I approached that detour and I was pretty scared that day.

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    Patrick March 30, 2006 at 12:37 pm

    Thanks Paul as well for hearing my concern.

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    Sharon March 30, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    I appreciate that a bike detour was given and I know there is no good detour. Eight of us rode it Tues. morning about 9:15 am. Turning from 47th St. left onto Columbia Blvd. was a problem. On Columbia Blvd. truck horn were honking at us a lot. We were single file but there is a lot of truck traffic and no bike lanes. You can’t ride on the sidewalk, mostly it’s just a dirt strip. Next time we’ll access Marine Dr. from Vancouver Ave.

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    Matt Picio March 31, 2006 at 9:22 am

    Peter W, it’s not that the vehicles are heavier (for the most part, some *are* heavier), but that the weight limits of the bridges are adjusted according to their age and the results of periodic scehduled bridge inspections. One area where the bridges are dealing with heavier vehicles is triple trailers – Oregon is one of the few remaining states that allow triple trailer trucks.

    Of course, just to confuse the issue further, there are two primary ways to measure a bridge’s weight limits – vehicle weight, and axle-loading or weight per axle.

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  • […] This means cyclists no longer have to take the tricky detour that I wrote about when the bridge was demolished back in March. According to the official PDOT project update report, the bridge re-opened to traffic on December 22nd. There are no specific bike facilities on the bridge but it has been slightly widened and it provides direct access to Marine Drive. For questions contact Project Manager Paul Gornick at paul[dot]gornick[at]pdxtrans[dot]org. […]

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