With so much attention on the Flanders Crossing Bridge that opened last week, lots of folks have wondered what’s up with the other carfree bridge currently under construction: The Congressman Earl Blumenauer Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge that will someday connect the central eastside to the Lloyd via 7th Avenue.
When we last checked in on it seven months ago it looked like installation of the bridge’s 475-foot span over Sullivan’s Gulch and Interstate 84 was imminent. Work on the $14 million project began in November 2019.
Initial estimates from the Portland Bureau of Transportation said the bridge would be moved into place in August 2020 and would be open for traffic by spring of this year. But the swooping arches that rolled into place last winter haven’t budged for months. Now it appears it could be spring 2022 before we’re able to walk and roll across this new bridge.
Similar to what happened to I-405 when the Flanders Crossing was installed, the placement of the bridge over Sullivan’s Gulch will require a full closure of I-84 in both directions for one weekend. This means PBOT must get approval from both the Oregon Department of Transportation and Union Pacific Railroad before they lift the bridge across the freeway. Given that I-84 is a much more significant freeway than I-405 and the fact that the gulch includes both heavy and light rail lines, it’s understandable that getting sign-offs on a full closure is complicated.
A source close to the project said PBOT hopes to install the bridge this coming weekend and a tentative opening date would be early 2022.
Asked to confirm the delay and these new dates, a PBOT spokesperson said only, “We’ll have some news soon.”
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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