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New bridge on N Lombard would come with grade-separated bike lane

Posted by on November 5th, 2020 at 1:50 pm

The new bridge on N Lombard would replace this one which was built 80 years ago.

A key connection to industrial jobs and the 40 Mile Loop path system is poised for an upgrade.

Location circled in red.

At a meeting of the Portland Bureau of Transportation Freight Committee this morning, the city unveiled preliminary plans to rebuild the Burgard Road Bridge. The bridge is located about 1.25 miles north of downtown St. Johns on Lombard Street (it becomes Burgard north of the bridge). It goes over railroad tracks just south of Terminal Road. Back in May a train derailment damaged bridge supports.

According to PBOT Project Manager Zef Wagner, the project emerged when staff examined the city’s Transportation System Plan for major projects that needed to be more shovel-ready in case new funding opportunities arise.

The bridge, which was built in 1930, is the only connection for cars and trucks to the Rivergate industrial area other than Columbia Boulevard. If the bridge was closed from age concerns or damage, the detour around it would be three miles.

Bicycle riders know this bridge as a key connection to thousands of port-related industrial jobs and a gateway to Kelley Point Park, Smith & Bybee Lakes, and beyond. In 2018 this section of Lombard received an update when PBOT striped a two-way bike lane separated by plastic delineator wands. Unfortunately the bridge is still a very high-stress spot because of wide freight trucks that come rumbling by. Streets in this area are often littered with vehicle debris, gravel, and those aforementioned wants after they get uprooted by errant drivers (see photo above).


Possible cross-section.

Even PBOT’s Wagner acknowledged that it could better. “It just delineators, it’s not that robust,” he told PFC Committee members this morning.

PBOT wants to replace it with a longer (to level out the current grade) bridge that’s 55-feet wide. As you can see in the cross-section there would be two 12-foot wide lanes, an 8-foot wide sidewalk on both sides, and about 10-feet for a two-way bikeway on the east side (same location as today). In a move to improve the bikeway, PBOT would move it up onto the same level as the sidewalk. This grade separation is important given the wide freight loads that move through the area.

Just a bit east of this bridge, Metro is working on a new carfree bridge over Columbia Blvd that will connect Pier and Chimney parks to a natural area between Smith & Bybee Lakes and the Columbia Slough.

At this point PBOT’s estimated cost of the new bridge is $10-15 million. No funding has been identified.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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PdxPhoenixGary BJered BogliChris IDavid Hampsten Recent comment authors
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What is the information on the carfree bridge? The link went to social media.

Chris I
Chris I

It should be noted that this bridge was heavily damaged in a train derailment back in May:

The two-way bikeway is closed and riders are either forced into the road or onto the sidewalk in this section. I would imagine this is a big reason for the discussions on a replacement right now.

Gary B
Gary B

Last I was on it, the 2-way bike lane is detoured to the sidewalk, so that cars can drive in the former bikelane due to the damage. I assume that situation is permanent until replaced? Or has it been (can it be) repaired?

Jered Bogli
Jered Bogli

Good to know why. I’ve been taking the lane here because 1. always take the lane and 2. I HATE that two way bike path, errr I mean road debris collector and or you find kooks swerving all over the place. Get rid of that whole path – the road is beyond wide even with a selection of dystopian motor homes strewn about. lastly, way harder to jump on the wheel of a slow moving truck if you’re in that god forsaken bike lane.


Ok. So if you have a separate bike lane… Why an 8′ wide sidewalk on both sides? Just askin. I could see it if bikes & peds were expected to share…but…??

Also, anyone else just not like the idea of having *both* bike directions on the same side of the road? Just seems…. wrong to me.