Photos from the night crews rolled the Blumenauer Bridge across I-84

Posted by on October 10th, 2021 at 7:28 am

Relatively large crowds massed at various perches throughout Saturday and into Sunday morning.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

If you didn’t catch a glimpse of the action late Saturday night, here’s how the progress looked from various angles around the project. Most of the images below are from just after 2:00 am when crews finally placed the Earl Blumenauer Bridge span across the entire width of I-84.

From the south side:

From 12th Avenue overpass looking west:

From the north side:

From Grand Avenue looking west:

And that big, quiet, empty freeway was absolutely spellbinding and I could not keep my eyes off of it.

And here are a few video clips just for good measure:

Crews will roll the span across the railroad tracks and put the final touches on this phase of the installation Sunday morning. The clock is ticking because they’ve got to be all cleaned up and off the freeway by Monday morning. Sources say they’re ahead of schedule so I don’t foresee any issues with delays so far. And no, the bridge isn’t close to opening. There’s a lot of work to do and PBOT says we should be riding on it by this coming summer. Check progress on the official live-cam and stay tuned for more updates.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Mike Quigley
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Mike Quigley

Did you get any pix of you riding your bike alone up and down that big, quiet empty freeway? Or did you miss a chance of a lifetime? Or was it even allowed?

Hotrodder
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Hotrodder

The hoi polloi were kept off the on-ramps by guards. I was hoping for a pedalpalouza event, but it wasn’t to be.

Too bad.

PATRICK
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PATRICK

Thanks for getting out there and getting the photos!

Joseph Gallivan
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Joseph Gallivan

Were any of them PBOT photos?

Rick S
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Rick S

the link that Jonathan shared at the end of his blog (below his photos) shows photos from the south side of I-84 about every 13 minutes. time lapse also, but not very good.

qqq
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qqq

PBOT’s got someone who does some pretty good photography and drone photography. There’s a time-lapse video on PBOT’s facebook page, and the same video plus some a drone video on its Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/CU5a1DmPko9/

Steve Durrant
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Steve Durrant

Nice photos Jonathan. You were busy covering all those angles.

quicklywilliam
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Hell yeah.

Zachary
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Zachary

It was the empty freeway, as you noted in the article, that stole the show.

rh
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rh

It must have been so quiet without all the traffic on the fwy!

Zach R
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Zach R

Did anyone monitor the level of increased traffic throughout alternatives routes (be it highway or surface streets) due to the I-84 closure? If not, it might have been a missed opportunity to gather data on how the region might handle one less highway in the area. Any anecdotal evidence of streets overflowing with cars?

Another Engineer
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Another Engineer

The data point isn’t very useful because it was done during typical weekend traffic not weekday traffic.

squareman
Subscriber

Data is data and if it wasn’t collected, it was a missed opportunity by PBOT and other agencies.

Another Engineer
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Another Engineer

There is always plenty of data coming of existing signals and intelligent transportation systems installations but if there isn’t an interesting question being asked/answered or change being made it really isn’t worth the time to investigate.

Some of the data is public here: https://portal.its.pdx.edu/stations

Chris I
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Chris I

I live near I-84, and westbound ends up jammed up by early afternoon even on weekends. Sunday mornings are light for sure, but every other day seems to have steady to heavy traffic.

Stephan
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Stephan

I was on NE Broadway on Saturday afternoon and it was clearly more packed, and people seemed more irate. However, no major traffic jam.

ivan
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ivan

Anecdote: I was at a (local) conference and offered to take some people to the airport in my rented-for-the-weekend car on Sunday evening. I-5 NB was somewhat backed up, more than a usual Sunday I’m sure but only added maybe 5 minutes to the trip. Without I-84, I took N/NE Lombard. It was definitely full, but moving quite quickly the whole way. Returning from the airport I took I-205 SB (going to SE neighborhoods) and there was a lot of backup around the Halsey exit but the other lanes were all moving freely. SE Powell, like Lombard, was fuller than usual but not backed up.

Overall I’d say the surface streets handled it, but of course it was a weekend. And while I like the idea of canceling a freeway permanently (I-5 Marquam/east side being my first priority), it did occur to me that segregating cars onto the interstates and not on neighborhood stroads does probably have some utility.

Fun fact: First time I drove a car in 3 years!

squareman
Subscriber

Almost as if we don’t really need freeways except for commute hours and to increase freight efficiency.

jeffrey m lang
Guest
jeffrey m lang

Or do like Mexico City that has an above ground dedicated freeway lane for Public Buses.
Freight efficiency will be increased with dedicated Truck lanes 24 hours a day. These above ground solutions to congestion and air pollution cost a fraction of what UMTA supports and help build in Honolulu, Boston (big dig) and other boondoggle projects.
Instead of subsidizing the priviliged classes commute in from the suburbs, on average to the tune of $35 per rider, these massive – astronomical $$’s saved can be used for Bike Bridges, dedicated Bike Pedestrian trails and wide greenways. Supporting the Bikers and walkers who truly alight around pollution free with every pedal or footstep.