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Know before you go: A round-up of detours and construction zones

Posted by on September 10th, 2013 at 9:52 am

Damage to Springwater path-3

Parks will finally fix this section of the Springwater bike path.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Between the big TriMet light rail project, PBOT’s fog-sealing binge, and other random projects — for some reason this summer has been full of construction in the Portland area. As a result, there are a lot of detours and general advisories to know about.

Below is a roundup of construction projects and detour notices that impact bicycling. (If we’ve left any out, please share them in the comments below.):

Portland Parks will finally (!) fix eroded section of Springwater Corridor path
It’s been a year and-a-half since erosion did major damage to a section of the popular Springwater path about one mile south of the Ross Island Bridge back in March of last year. Parks announced yesterday that they plan to begin the repairs at the end of September and it will last through October. The path will be fully closed during construction work hours of Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Parks is still working out details, but here’s what they’re saying so far:

“PP&R has planned the construction timing to allow commuter and recreation access in the morning before 9am and in the evening after 4pm, when crews are not working. In order to maintain this limited access, we need your help. Please plan enough time to pass through the construction zone before the trail section closes. “

Stay tuned for more details on this project, exact closure dates, and access plans.

Construction closes SE 6th Avenue at Clay, except for bikes
The Bureau of Environmental Services is doing a “green street and pedestrian improvement project” that will close SE 6th Ave at Clay Street all this week between the hours of 7:00 am and 6:00 pm. The good news is that people riding bicycles will be allowed through the construction area during work hours (drivers are being routed to SE Hawthorne, Grand, Mill or 7th). This project is slated to last about two weeks.

Fog sealing closes SE Lincoln bike boulevard
Reader Doug Klotz said he came up on a poorly planned detour while biking westbound on SE Lincoln. As he approached Calle Cesar Chavez (SE 39th), he noticed “Road Closed” signs and an A-board sign with “Bike Detour” in small print. “However, there was no indication as to where the route of this “detour” was!,” wrote a frustrated Klotz to the Active Right of Way email list. “I suppose that PBOT expects me to turn right on Chavez, travel in the lane, get into the left lane, and turn left across traffic onto Harrison.” Klotz has called in his concerns to 823-SAFE. Be aware when riding in this area.

Section of NE 33rd near Marine Drive closed for five months

The Bureau of Environmental Services is replacing a culvert on NE 33rd that has required them to fully close the street just north of Columbia Blvd. This section of 33rd is a popular way to connect from northeast neighborhoods to the Marine Drive bike path. No bicycle riding is allowed through the closure zone and BES has provided a detour map which takes you around the construction area. This project started on August 30th.

TriMet opens new SE 17th Avenue overpass above Powell Blvd

(Photo: Howard Draper)

TriMet has announced that their new overpass is now open to the public. The overpass was re-done as part of the Portland Milwaukie Light Rail project and it now includes wider sidewalks and it will soon be striped with permanent bike lanes. Reader Howard Draper sent us the photo above and shared that it’s, “Soooo nice to bike over.”

I think that’s all for now. Remember to share your detour tips and any other route advisories in the comments below.

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  • jeff September 10, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I rode through six construction zones yesterday morning. Ever changing detours, grumpy constructions guys, including the SE Lincoln closure (which was particularly confusing and badly marked, even though the guy sitting in his truck yelling at people was convinced they did a great job)

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    • Dan September 10, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Yeah, the Lincoln closure was poorly planned. Where were we supposed to go? Guess bikes are still “second class vehicles” for PDOT – they wouldn’t have closed Hawthorne like that and asked motorized traffic to roll their own detour.

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      • Lori September 10, 2013 at 11:30 am

        The Lincoln closure is bad for cars and bikes alike. There’s not much signage for the detours for either, so cars are being diverted down streets barely wide enough for one car to pass, let alone two lanes of traffic with cars and bikes. I think patience and vigilance are key until the construction is finished. Just be aware that it’s frustrating and confusion for all road users, not just those of us on bikes.

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        • Spiffy September 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm

          luckily cars aren’t usually driving down Lincoln but merely crossing it… but the cross-streets weren’t well marked that the street was closed so there was confusion all around…

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          • Lori September 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm

            Cars don’t usually use Lincoln, but Division is (or at least was last night) closed just east of 34th so traffic is diverting to Lincoln and Clinton.

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      • was carless September 10, 2013 at 2:13 pm

        Well, they did close 39th for awhile this summer. That was a fun one.

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        • dan September 10, 2013 at 2:50 pm

          I actually grew to love walking down the sidewalk or street on 39th during the construction. There were just one or two spots they were excavating, the rest of the closed area was quiet as can be. I was sorry when they opened the street again.

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    • Spiffy September 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm

      I found the one yelling worker especially funny since nobody else seemed to care that bikes were on the road while they were setting up…

      the closure was well marked… however, it wasn’t well conveyed that it was closed to all traffic… and there was no detour marked at all… here’s a screenshot from 8:16am yesterday… http://i.imgur.com/rxaBT10.jpg

      there was also construction at 50th and Lincoln which caused us all to go up onto the sidewalk rather than wait for the flagger to let us through the one open street lane…

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      • John Lascurettes September 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm

        The road seal was done recently on NE 11th (I might be a block off) and the road signs were set up the same way. Total road closure. No notation about how to get around it nor how many blocks diverted I’d be (I needed to actually CROSS the road closure which cutting off the greenway at Siskiyou). These contractors need lessons in both manners (they were yelling at the confused and blocked of cyclists trying to figure out how to get around it, “ROAD’S CLOSED!” with no further explanation) and proper route diversion.

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  • Granpa September 10, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Let us not forget the Sellwood Bridge construction site with its impacts to the greenway trail and cemetery bike route.

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    • davemess September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      The cemetery is still open, it’s just a short section of gravel at the base of the hill.

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  • Todd Hudson September 10, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I hope a record flood does not take out a larger chunk of the Springwater Trail. The damaged section is an example that the Willamette, at high stage, goes where it wants.

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  • Jeff September 10, 2013 at 10:37 am

    The cycletrack on the west side of Moody between Sheridan and Gibbs is now closed for three weeks. Good (even kinda funny) signage directing you to the east sidewalk. On Thursday, they’ll be shutting Moody down to motorized vehicles which should make it easier for those heading southbound to cross over.

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    • spare_wheel September 10, 2013 at 11:01 am

      ride the hill! it’s better for you and far more scenic.

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      • Eric September 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm

        Some of use are just using it to get from South Portland to Downtown and points beyond, not to get to OHSU. And I’m not humping up Corbett with my 80 extra #s of kid and WeeHoo trailer.

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      • Jeff September 11, 2013 at 8:25 am

        I would, but my office is at the bottom of the hill.

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    • rainbike September 10, 2013 at 11:43 am

      The east sidewalk isn’t striped like the west side. Please remember to give an audible warning when passing pedestrians in the narrow sections. I walked that section today and not a single cyclist gave a warning before passing (some fairly closely).

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  • Christianne September 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    There was construction work going on at SE 2nd and Clay this morning, right before the railroad crossing. Have no idea what they’re doing.

    It was there this morning but not yesterday, and pops up every now and then? Just hop onto the sidewalk to bypass.

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  • Bald One September 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for this timely article. Very useful! Eastside cycle-commuting issues keep me interested in this website (maybe the community can point me to some other links that cover similar issues, since they don’t seem to show up on these pages with as much frequency as I remember).

    Road construction delays/detours in SE Portland is at a frenzied pace! What is a commuter to do? What’s the preferred way to get to SE 20th and Clinton from the Vera Katz? That route is continuously changing.

    Beware posted closure hours (the Sprinwater MUP closure): the city’s contractors love to jump the gun on their supposed hours of operation and set up the detour/closure way early so they can get to construction work (never mind the 100’s or 1000’s of commuting folks put out or stuck so these guys can get to work a few minutes early). IMHO, city really needs to crack down on these contractors to enforce the posted closure schedules – I’ve seen this problem many times at other projects (car and bike impacts).

    17th Ave overpass and the Clinton St station are really going to be awesome when it’s all over (Sept 2015), and it looks like this should create a quick route along the max-tracks all the way to OMSI. We’ll see how many acute track angles have to be crossed, and how many times the bike path disappears into a Max station platform or a bus stop, but I am trying to stay optimistic the planners/builders will get this right. Now, if only there was a good way to get to SE 17th from anywhere else in the city…. Holgate Blvd road diet, anyone? Good way across the Brooklyn rail yard that does not involve using elevators? Lastly, city continues to tangle together bicycles and tri-met buses. As we get more (cycle) dense, these bike/bus area interactions need to be better solved – or just competely disentangled (Hawthorne Bridge).

    Speaking of fog-sealing, the city’s program of road repair doesn’t seem to consider the volume of traffic (bike) in deciding where to spend their maintanence $$s. Seems like rider/miles per section of pavement should have some bearing on how much money to spend on fixing potholes/cracks and utility cuts. Their shotgun approach to the repair schedule is ill-advised. How about some pavement love for the most heaviest cycle-travelled streets/bike lanes? Me and 20,000 others have been bumping over the same sections of bad pavement for too long while the city spends millions to build bikelanes to nowhere….(yes, we should build bike lanes to remote parts of the city, but we should prioritize spending repair money where the most number of riders use these old streets – some of us aren’t getting any younger).

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    • Jayson September 10, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      I think TriMet is also building a new ped crossing of Brooklyn Yard, so one traveling from Brooklyn neighborhood will be able to easily access the rest of SE portland to the east. Also, I believe TriMet is adding bike lanes to SE Milwaukie Blvd for the section that it touches, so bikes can cross north along SE 12th ave to Ladd’s addition and other bike areas/boulevards.

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      • Bald One September 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm

        my understanding is that the currenly existing LaFayette St. pedestrian bridge (So-Po) will be re-built, with elevators at both ends. I am not aware of any firm plans for a new crossing of the Brooklyn yard at a different location. That would be welcome news, but I would guess it’s just speculation.

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        • GlowBoy September 10, 2013 at 9:06 pm

          I had heard that the Gideon pedestrian bridge at the far north end of the yard would be torn down, and that the Lafayette pedestrian bridge would remain. I had not heard that it would be rebuilt with elevators. That would be excellent.

          The other potential-but-not-happening pedestrian bridge would be at Harold Street, but that would require the construction of Harold Street Station, which was cut from the project to save money (much to the dismay of people in north Sellwood, Woodstock and Reed College).

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          • Bald One September 11, 2013 at 1:58 pm

            Right, Gideon street overpass will not be replaced and I think is already gone (it only crossed 2 tracks, so was sometimes easier to just hop the tracks at 17th onto the Powell sidewalk). That area is going to be fantastically transformed with the new Clinton St station for Orange line. much of the curbing and track crossings at 11/12 are already in place. Just hope they get the bike lanes for commuters passing through (not using the max stop) right. For now, it’s nice access back onto Powell from 17th, but later it will continue along the max tracks.

            Harold st is a bummer, but it doesn’t seem to be completely dead (2020?). It was also another spot to hop the tracks to avoid the shlep all the way to Bybee – but now that option is also removed as they build out the max line.

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  • Kristen September 10, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    Here’s the report from the Southwest Suburbs:

    Upper Boones Ferry Road between Durham Road and Boones Ferry: Bike lanes are intermittently closed during the day due to road construction; also, they’ve got the big drain catcher nets full of straw/etc around all the drains in the road, which means there’s a lot of big lumpy items in the bike lane to try to miss. Also, some of them have been destroyed by cars cutting the corner Northbound UBF just South of Durham Rd, so use caution.

    Speaking of Boones Ferry, the huge condo project behind REI has taken out the bike lanes bordering the project site. They used to have “Bikes in Roadway” signs leading up to the closed bike lanes, but they’ve been gone for a while now. You’ll have to merge into the car lane, I suggest getting in the lane before the last driveway before the bike lane goes away.

    Martinazzi in Tualatin is all kinds of dug up, my advice is to cut through Durham Park to Tualatin Park and cut out that whole section.

    Also, the Boones Ferry construction around I-5 has taken out some bike lanes and made that whole area dicey for travel of any kind. Use caution.

    And finally, looks like ODOT/Tigard is working on 72nd up at 217, making a tough traffic situation worse.

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  • Sho September 10, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    SW Moody is detoured, well marked and they actually put in an asphalt ramp for cyclists going northbound to get back into the bike lane which is quite helpful. Would be nice if other cyclists actually obeyed the stoplight though following the detour at the north end opposed to running the red light turn signal.

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    • Eric September 11, 2013 at 6:13 am

      The detour is a lot better than I expected it to be, EXCEPT southbound access at the north end which isn’t well signed at all. I assumed that turning left in the protected left turn lane would be the best way to go, but no matter where I went in the lane Monday (went that way twice), I couldn’t get the light to trigger. So after sitting through 4 cycles of the light, just turned anyway. I guess I’ll cross at the crosswalk instead.

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      • Jeff September 11, 2013 at 8:30 am

        Tomorrow, Moody is closed to vehicular traffic. This might get a lot easier if Moody dead ends at Sheridan.

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        • Eric September 11, 2013 at 12:41 pm

          That’s kind of what I’m hoping for. But there’s going to be more traffic at Moody/Sheridan because of streetcar and OHSU shuttle detours. We’ll see.

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      • Sho September 11, 2013 at 12:59 pm

        You need to perform a copenhagen left, should be pretty evident similar to many other detours. The streetcar tracks are in the turn lane so there isnt a ground signal.

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  • A.K. September 11, 2013 at 11:04 am

    Any news on when the re-paved section of Marine Drive (between Salty’s and the Portland Yacht Club) will be re-stripped?

    They finished the paving over a month ago, but the shoulder stripes are still not there. I’d like to see more aggressive markings indicating bikes in the area as well.

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    • henna anthems September 11, 2013 at 10:20 pm

      Not only have they not striped it, they ground off the new pavement on the west bound lanes, leaving the bike lane choppy and debris filled.

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      • A.K. September 12, 2013 at 10:05 am

        Yeah it’s frustrating… I just moved to NoPo so my route to work takes me along there. Fine during the spring/summer when there is plenty of light, but I worry a little bit about that stretch when it will be raining and dark soon.

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  • Howard Draper September 11, 2013 at 11:17 am

    I live in Brooklyn, so I’ve been using the redone 17th overpass 2-4 times a day since last weekend. It makes getting to Clinton much more pleasant and quick than waiting for the Powell crosswalk or light. It’s so direct and low-stress to bike with kids that I suspect we’ll be eating in Clinton more often. If only getting to Sellwood from Brooklyn was that comfy.

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  • GlowBoy September 11, 2013 at 11:20 am

    “people riding bicycles will be allowed through the [6th Ave at Clay] construction area during work hours”

    NOT! It’s completely blocked off, as it has been for a couple weeks. When I mentioned the above news, and the flagger I talked to had no idea what I was talking about.

    Not a huge deal, but it is significant for me. With the 8th Avenue rail crossing *STILL* closed, I ride up the 99E/MLK viaduct to head north towards the Hawthorne Bridge. 6th is the ideal route. Going over to 7th only adds a couple blocks to my trip, but the left turn from there onto Madison is far from ideal, so I vastly prefer 6th.

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    • Bald One September 11, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      I might start riding on 99E, also. I kind of like that idea. City put in bike lanes on the shiny new viadcut they were repairing over the last several years. I have been wondering if these were bike lanes to nowhere and how they are supposed to be best accessed on/off 99E. I guess N-bound with access from Woodward looks decent – but where do you exit after you cross past Division? I’ve yet to see anyone riding on this in a commuting type manner (I’ll watch for you!), or in the section of 99E adjacent to Brooklyn neighborhood, between holgate and Ross Island Bridge. But, the nice flat/fast section of pavement with no stops (and no construction) and a bike lane stripe is very tempting. Southbound looks more challenging, but Northbound seems do-able.

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      • GlowBoy September 11, 2013 at 10:17 pm

        The 99E bike lanes are sort-of bike lanes to nowhere, in that they don’t have a stencil formally designating them as bike lanes, and the northbound one just kind of stops where the side street comes in up from Division Place (alongside the Goodwill).

        But the merge zone is long enough you can look over your shoulder and check for traffic coming up that way before you hop in the right lane. There’s also room enough to stop if necessary, but so far I haven’t had to. Just watch out as you jump in the right lane because the streetcar tracks come in at an extremely acute angle. I usually hop my front wheel over it, then turn right off MLK right after the Goodwill parking lot.

        Alternatively, at the dairy you can hop up on the very wide sidewalk and ride that (and of course allows you to ride either direction), and where it ends next to the Goodwill there is a crosswalk you can use to get over to the “main sidewalk”. Jonathan did a story about this a few weeks ago.

        I still prefer the 8th Avenue crossing though, and I think I’ll like it even more when they finally reopen it in its new configuration.

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    • GlowBoy September 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

      6th Ave still completely blocked off here, including both sidewalks. I’ve come through there around 8am on Thursday, Friday and today. Same story each time.

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  • Elliot September 11, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    A few more to mention in SE:

    What looked to be sewer work on SE Salmon between SE 21st and 24th that was active for most of the summer is now done, and the street is open.

    SE Division is closed between SE 34th and SE 37th (I think), and the detour puts eastbound vehicle traffic onto Clinton for a few blocks. Not all vehicles are following the detour sign to turn leff off of Clinton at 37th in order to get back to Division, which is leading to long lines at the signal & bike box at SE 39th. They need a flagger there directing cars back to Division, or the entire platoon from a light will just follow the car in front of them and miss the turn off.

    Residential construction on SE 34th just south of Market cut into the road to do some utility work and hasn’t paved over the trench. What remains is a good 4″ gravel divot, so don’t run into this one at night.

    Also on SE 34th between Division and Clinton, there’s a steel plate that’s been sitting in the roadway for over a month, also probably from residential construction. I called it into 823-SAFE with no action so far. Don’t hit this one at night, either.

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  • BURR September 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    Here’s another one: Short one block detour on the Eastside Esplanade by the fire boat station just north of the Hawthorne Bridge.

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