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Oregon City bridge set to re-open in October with carfree festival

Posted by on August 1st, 2012 at 11:57 am

The Oregon Department of Transportation has announced that the Oregon City/West Linn Bridge will re-open to traffic on Monday, October 15th. The bridge, a key bike connection between the two cities and to points beyond, has been closed for repairs and renovations since January 2011.

ODOT announced earlier this week that the Willamette Falls Heritage Area Coalition will hold a three-day festival to celebrate the bridge’s re-opening. The Willamette Falls Festival will run from Friday October 12th to Sunday October 14th. The noteworthy part of the event for people who enjoy riding bicycles is that during the festival, the bridge will be closed to auto and truck traffic for the entire weekend! This is a rare chance to hang out on this historic bridge (built in 1923) and view Willamette Falls without the noise and stress of motorized traffic.

In case you’re curious, this $10 million rehab project isn’t doing anything to improve bicycle access. The current bridge is relatively narrow with one standard lane in each direction and sidewalk on both sides. ODOT says the bridge supports can’t support any widening and the fact that this is a nationally designated historic bridge makes any major changes all but impossible. Most people on bikes simply take the lane.

To accomodate bicycling and walking traffic during the bridge closure, ODOT set up a shuttle service. Since it started on January 15th, 2011, ODOT reports that the shuttle has carried 57,257 people — of which 9,300 were riding bicycles.

Learn more about the project in our archives and on the project website.

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This bridge, only added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, replaced an 1888 pedestrian bridge-ha.

matt picio

The best part is, you can ride the newly-opened Trolley Trail to get down there.




I’m very excited about this. And yes, the new Trolley Trail will be a great way to get there.


If you’re nervous about taking the lane, there’s at least some kind of reward for crossing from either side—unlike the St. Johns bridge.

I look forward to its opening. If you think road debris and traffic on 30 to Sauvie Island is bad, the shoulder on that I-205 bridge is even worse (according to my friend A. Nonymous, who is definitely not me).

Jonathan Gordon
Jonathan Gordon

I found the bridge project website here:

I just sent the following email to the main contact listed there requesting sharrows on the bridge deck:

Hello Susan,

I recently read about the upcoming reopening of the Oregon City/West
Linn Arch Bridge on BikePortland:

I’m wondering if you’ve considered placing sharrows on the bridge deck
like they have recently for the St. Johns Bridge:

I find that cars are much less likely to honk/yell at me on the St.
Johns Bridge now that they expect to share the road with me. It’d be
great to see something like that on the Oregon City/West Linn Arch

What do you think?