The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

New plan: Broadway Bridge will close to bike traffic too

Posted by on July 1st, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Flagger at Broadway Williams-5

Streetcar construction means a full closure
of the Broadway Bridge later this month
— even for bike traffic.
(Photo © J. Maus)

When we last chimed in about a two month closure to the Broadway Bridge slated to begin on July 6th, the plan from PBOT and Portland Streetcar Inc. was to maintain biking and walking access on the south sidewalk throughout the entire length of the construction project.

Now, that plan has changed.

PBOT spokesperson Dan Anderson has confirmed that the bridge will be completely closed to biking and walking traffic for a yet-to-be determined length of time.

Earlier today, an update was published to the website stating that the biking/walking traffic closure would be from July 19th to September 3rd. When I contacted Portland Streetcar for more details, they said communication plans hadn’t been solidified and a few minutes later the update had been removed (turns out someone published it prematurely).

According to Kay Dannen, Principal at Shiels Obletz Johnsen, Inc., (the company doing the streetcar work), “a late breaking issue” has led to the contractor needing to close both sidewalks during the closure. Dannen adds that, “We will plan to keep the south sidewalk open as long as possible.”

PBOT’s Anderson says just how long bikers and walkers will retain access to the south sidewalk remains unknown. PBOT plans to release a precise date sometime next week. The detour route will be the Steel Bridge to the south (sorry, there are no plans for a Fremont Bridge bike detour).

Portlanders last endured a full closure of the Broadway Bridge back in 2004. That closure lasted 60 days (from July 6th to September 6th) while crews worked on the lift span as part of a $28 million renovation project.

Stay tuned for more details and keep an eye on the project’s construction updates page for more information.

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  • jeff July 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm


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  • John Russell (jr98664) July 1, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    I’ve never had any problem cycling over the Fremont bridge in traffic. 😉 The shoulders are quite wide. Not legal to cycle on, but they sure are wide.

    Just a thought, you might want to change the word ‘include’ in the title to something a bit more clear. I had to click on the story confirm what you meant. Perhaps: “New plan: Broadway Bridge closure applies to bike traffic”

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  • Esther July 1, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Hope the Steele Bridge Breakfast on the Bridge folk are ready for the influx of hungry people who had to bike an extra mile!

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  • Allan July 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm


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  • Anne Hawley July 1, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Inconvenient for Broadway Bridge regulars, and probably a complete CF for Steel Bridge regulars too.

    As @jeff said, bummer.

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  • SkidMark July 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Sounds safer than two way bike and ped traffic on one side of the bridge.

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  • She July 1, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    To SkidMark

    “Sounds safer than two way bike and ped traffic on one side of the bridge.”

    Really??? So now there is going to two way bike and ped traffic (from two bridges) on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge??? How is that safer?

    I hope there is some way to limit the time of the bike/ped closure on the Broadway so it is not the entire time of the auto traffic closure, this is going to be a mess.

    I guess the Morrison might get more bike/ped traffic now.

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  • J.R. July 1, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    A zip line would be fun but couldn’t handle bikes too. How about a big trebuchet? Or those inter office vacuum tubes? Heck, I’d pay for that ride. The Augustus Gloop Memorial suction ferry. Talk about bike fun!

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  • She July 1, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    How about a zip line that you hook your bike to and hang on that! That sounds like fun, better keep your bike clean.

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  • AdamG July 1, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    The upper deck of the steel bridge is where you’ll find me during this closure (there is a bikes on roadway sign up there and lot more space than the lower deck)

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  • Ryan, Man of Steel (Bridge) July 1, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    @ Esther- Bring ’em on!

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  • jv July 1, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    I think the upper deck of the Steel will likely be extra crowded as well with auto traffic, but I agree – it is going to be better than the Esplanade and lower deck.

    I think there has got to be a way to plan the construction so that they can open up one side of the Broadway path or the other on a timed schedule. But I can see from a safety perspective why it might be an issue. I remember a few weeks ago they had some large pipe across the bike /ped path (big enough to cause problems if not paying attention), and they had a couple guys standing on either side warning cyclists about the hazard. That would get old pretty quick if they had to do it on a regular basis. If it is a trade off between getting the whole project done quickly or keeping a path open, I would rather them just get the project done sooner.

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  • eric July 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    +1 on the steel bridge upper deck.

    maybe PBOT could put some sharrows up there to help remind drivers that bikes are traffic too, because I’ve had some run-ins with drivers/blazers fans who think I’m holding them up (as they go speeding up to a red light. morons).

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  • Jason July 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    How about bicycle pole vaulting the river? Might make a good Olympic event.

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  • beth h July 1, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Sharrows on the Steel Bridge? Would enough drivers take them seriously to make me feel safer? Not likely, sicne they already gleefully ignore the Sharrows painted on many streets in North and Northeast Portland.

    I don’t expect the city to give very much advance notice when they finally close all bike-ped access on the bridge.
    This is a mess and I am hopping mad. There will be no SAFE way for me to cross the Wilammette River unless I come all the way south to the Burnside Bridge, and that is seriously messed up.

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  • kiwimunki July 1, 2010 at 7:47 pm

    It’s time for Portland Flugtag Part III!

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  • Red Five July 1, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    Can we setup a protest for this?

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  • Amos July 1, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    Unless I’m misunderstanding my traffic laws, if the bike path/lane is closed then the “auto” lane is perfectly legal to ride in. Problem solved.

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  • Zaphod July 1, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    It would be great if some “bikes on roadway” temporary signs are placed on the steel upper deck as a very inexpensive bit of safety. While far from perfect, it’ll help just a little.

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  • encephalopath July 1, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    There already are Bikes on Roadway signs on the upper deck of the Steel Bridge.

    They end up being one of those over-information noise signs, though. They aren’t specifically about what people in cars are doing at the moment, so they don’t see them.

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  • joel July 1, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    amos #19 – the ENTIRE bridge roadway will be closed from 7/6 through 9/3.

    add me to the list of people wholl be using the steel bridge top deck. heck, i may even come to love it, and stick with it after everyone switches back to broadway in september… heck, i may just switch over preemptively.

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  • encephalopath July 1, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Take the lane on the upper deck of the Steel Bridge a little early. Make sure you get into a gap between cars, as some drivers aren’t very good at deciding when it’s OK to pass.

    Don’t let anybody think they are going to pass you in the 20 feet before the lane narrows. Most drivers are good about it, but there is that irritating minority that will try to pin you to the railing so they can squeeze through at the last moment.

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  • Amos July 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Thanks Joel. Didn’t catch that from the article copy.

    This would be a pretty huge inconvenience for me (live in NE, work in NW) if I didn’t love riding my bike so much. Imagine how it must suck for people who drive to work!

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  • encephalopath July 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Also, inbound over the Steel is easier than outbound. Not as steep.

    And if you take the Front Street ramp in the outbound direction there is a potential wheel grabber gap in between roadway segments at the lane merge near the top (if you’re running a 23 mm tire). Watch out for that.

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  • West Cougar July 1, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    John Russell, awesome flickr set. You have freeway shots from all over town! I’ve ridden the Fremont a few times in my day, even hosted a Pedalpalooza ride (check June 20) across it, and generally thought I was one bad mofo, but dude, after seeing your set, I’m not worthy.

    Allan? Who are you? I’ve only met one Allan on a bike in Portland and you ain’t him.

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  • Steve B. July 1, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Time to get a memo to ODOT about opening up the Fremont Bridge to bicycle traffic. Can’t think of a better way to kick off bike access on Portland’s iconic bridge than to use it as a detour for this project.

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  • Red Five July 2, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Steve B.

    Either you’ve fallen off your bike and hit your head or you are kidding. You want bicycles crossing freeway traffic where 405 branches off to Hwy 30 and the NW industrial area? Really? Bikes on the Fremont bridge?

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  • SkidMark July 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    She: It’s safer because:

    *Two-way traffic is expected on the Steel Bridge

    *Steel Bridge deck is dead flat instead of uphill and downhill

    *No gigantic steel beams jutting out every 10 feet or so on the Steel Bridge deck.

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  • jim July 2, 2010 at 6:01 pm

    I would think they should be able to keep one sidewalk open. They don’t need that space. Just watch, it could stay open if they wanted to. I would make cyclists dismount and walk so there won’t be any accidents though. That would be too much going on for one sidewalk.

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  • beth h July 3, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Further info from an Oregonian story indicates that they can’t replace the sidewalks one at a time because of “balance issues”, and that lighter sidewalks are now needed to offset the weight of the streetcar rails (which will add 240,000 lbs to the bridge).

    Don’t even get me started on how I feel about the streetcar…

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  • jim July 3, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I hope the streetcar isn’t going down the lovejoy ramp. I remember when they made that, it had a delayed opening because they were afraid the bolts they used to hold the ramp on weren’t strong enough and it might fall down so they put bigger bolts in

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  • Amos July 6, 2010 at 7:22 am

    Hmm… what’s all this? A friend just let me know that bikes/peds were able to cross this morning on the south sidewalk.

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  • Amos July 6, 2010 at 7:25 am

    Oh… right. The article says that. Reading fail.

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  • are July 6, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    re comment 31, why, yes, it is going down the lovejoy ramp.

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