Press Release: Policy leaders recommend Sellwood Bridge plan

Here’s the latest on the Sellwood Bridge Project

Policy leaders recommend Sellwood Bridge plan

After two and a half years of study, a committee of elected and agency leaders has recommended a locally preferred alternative for the Sellwood Bridge Project. The alternative, which was unanimously approved on February 6, includes these elements:

– A new bridge built on the existing alignment and widening to the south
– A grade-separated and signalized interchange at the intersection with Highway 43 on the west side
– A pedestrian activated signal at the intersection of SE Tacoma and SE 6th Ave. at the east end of the bridge
– A cross section of 64 feet or less at its narrowest point, with two traffic lanes, two bike lanes/shoulders, and two sidewalks

The Policy Advisory Group includes representatives of jurisdictions and agencies with an interest in the Sellwood Bridge. The group is chaired by Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler and includes Portland Mayor Sam Adams, Milwaukie City Councilor Greg Chaimov, Federal Highway Administration Manager Philip Ditzler, TriMet General Manager Fred Hansen, Multnomah County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury, Metro Councilor Robert Liberty, Clackamas County Chair Lynn Peterson, State Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, ODOT Region 1 Manager Jason Tell, and State Rep. Carolyn Tomei.

The recommended alternative was similar to one recommended in January by a Community Task Force of eighteen citizens, with one exception: task force members were undecided on the minimum width of the bridge.

The next steps are for the locally preferred alternative to be approved by the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners, the Portland City Council, Metro’s Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation, and the Metro Council. After these jurisdictions vote in February and March, staff will refine the proposed design and prepare a Final Environmental Impact Statement that the Federal Highway Administration will need to approve before federal funds can be used for design and right of way acquisition. Federal approval is expected in 2010. If funding can be secured, construction could begin in 2012.

The selection of a preferred alternative is a key step in securing funding for a project estimated to cost roughly $300 million. “Our congressional delegation has been very clear that we will need to have a regional consensus on the Sellwood Bridge plan if we want to have a realistic chance of securing federal dollars for the project,” noted Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler. “We have now delivered on that regional consensus.”

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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