Southbound sidewalk of Interstate Bridge will close late Thursday, early Friday

Posted by on June 18th, 2015 at 7:42 pm

If all goes well, night owls should be the
only ones affected.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you’re crossing the Columbia River during the wee hours tonight by bike or foot, you’ll need to take the eastern (northbound) sidewalk.

A Wednesday morning truck collision on the Interstate 5 bridge between Vancouver and Portland damaged electrical equipment and the southbound lift span sidewalk gate, according to Vancouver transportation planner Patrick Sweeney, relaying information from the Oregon Department of Transportation. Repairs will close the western (southbound) sidewalk from 11 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday.

The bridge’s sidewalks double as bike routes. Detours from one to the other are time-consuming because of the way the ramps are built.


ODOT’s official news release on the subject Wednesday, doubtless assembled hastily, said that “traffic heading from Vancouver to Portland will have to use Interstate 205” but didn’t say anything about the 450 daily trips across the bridge that happen by something other than motor vehicle.

Thanks to reader Todd B. for bird-dogging this story.

UPDATE: Here’s a more detailed explanation provided by ODOT Public Information Officer Don Hamilton:

It will remain closed until early Friday morning but the path on the northbound span remains open to all bike and ped traffic.

The southbound will remain closed because a significant amount of electrical equipment still needs repair after the Wednesday crash. Electricians are spread out along the path today, getting their work done, some lying on their backs. In addition, the gate that blocks the path during bridge lifts was damaged in the crash and won’t be replaced until the Thursday night bridge closure.

So the path on the southbound span will remain closed until no later than 5 a.m. Friday. The path on the northbound span will remain open.

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Dan PackardMichael Andersen (News Editor)ChampsTed BuehlerJohn Lascurettes Recent comment authors
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They don’t have anything in their release about the sidewalk closure. Typical ODOT.

John Lascurettes

Speaking of sidewalk closures, the Broadway Bridge will have one, but not both sidewalks closed for a time:

Ted Buehler

Keep in mind that the east side bridge’s sidewalk is narrower than the west side.

The west side sidewalk is 47.75″, if I recall correctly. East side is more like 44″.

So if you’re pulling a wide load, you can take the lane northbound during 4-hour afternoon rush, but when traffic is free-flowing, or if you’re going south, you’ll need to detour over to I-205.

Photo from 2009 when the west-side sidewalk was closed and we were pulling a 47.75″ chariot back to Vancouver, WA.

Ted Buehler


Northbound feels like the landspeeder chase through Endor. If southbound is less than four inches wider, it feels like miles.

Dan Packard
Dan Packard

4 FEET wider.