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

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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