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Sellwood Bridge night blasting March 20 & 21

Multnomah County Press Release - March 19, 2013

 Related information

Night time blasting is scheduled on March 20 and 21 as part of the Sellwood Bridge construction project.  The contractor is excavating the hill on the west side of Highway 43 north and south of the bridge.  Blasting is needed to fracture underground rock into smaller pieces that can be excavated during the work day.

A new Highway 43 interchange will be built at the new bridge that will be wider than the existing interchange.  The west hillside will be excavated over the next few months and then retaining walls will be built to hold back the slope. By 2014, traffic lanes will shift to the west and the contractor will begin rebuilding the east side of the interchange.

Blasting began last week and is expected to last about four weeks.  This week’s blasting is north of the bridge and south of Macadam Bay floating homes.  Two or three detonations are planned each night between roughly 9 p.m. and 3 a.m.  Heavy mats are placed over the blasting holes to muffle the noise and reduce flying debris. Warning sirens that are required before the blast are usually louder than the actual explosion.

Highway and bridge traffic will be held for five to 20 minutes for each blast for safety. The outside southbound lane of Highway 43 will be closed near the bridge from 7 p.m. until as late as 6 a.m. on blast nights. Travelers can avoid delays by using alternate routes.

Blasting is scheduled at night to minimize impacts to traffic.  Blasts happen late at night due to procedures the contractor must follow for documenting the first blast and setting explosive charges before each blast.

For more information, including a video of a Sellwood Bridge blast, visit the blasting page.


Public invited to meeting on SW Miles Place trail design

Multnomah County Press Release - March 13, 2013

The public is invited to a meeting about the design for a section of regional trail along SW Miles Place.  The meeting is Thursday, March 14 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Easter Seals Building, 5757 SW Macadam Ave., between SW Pendleton and SW Flower Streets.

The Sellwood Bridge Project will construct the regional trail from Willamette Park to the new bridge. The meeting will focus on the segment of trail along SW Miles Place between Willamette Park and Macadam Bay floating home community. 

Last October, neighbors and trail users met with the project team to share ideas for the design on this narrow residential street that is one of the few of its kind in Portland.  Input from that meeting and from meetings with public agencies has led to a proposed alternative for the trail/street design.

The meeting agenda includes:

  • Background on previous decisions
  • Presentation of proposed alternative
  • Rationale for design elements, including input from key agencies
  • Public feedback on proposed alternative
  • Next steps

Parking is available onsite and on streets nearby.  The meeting location is served by TriMet bus routes 35-Macadam/Greeley and 43-Taylors Ferry Rd.


Sellwood Bridge night blasting begins March 13

Multnomah County Press Release - March 12, 2013

 Related information

Night time blasting is scheduled on March 13 and 14 as part of the Sellwood Bridge construction project.  The contractor is excavating the hill on the west side of Highway 43 north and south of the bridge.  Blasting is needed to fracture underground rock into smaller pieces that can be excavated during the work day. 

The bridge project will construct a new Highway 43 interchange at the new bridge that will be wider than the existing interchange.  The west hillside will be excavated over the next few months and then retaining walls will be built to hold back the slope. By 2014, traffic lanes will shift to the west and the contractor will begin rebuilding the east side of the interchange.

The contractor expects rock blasting will be needed as many as four weeks this spring.  Normally, blasting will happen on two or three weeknights in a week. On a blasting night, two or three blasts will typically be detonated. The first blast will happen close to 9 p.m. and the later blasts will usually happen between midnight and 3 a.m. 

Highway and bridge traffic will be held for five to 20 minutes for each blast to keep the public out of the blast area.  The outside southbound lane of Highway 43 will be closed near the bridge from as early as 7 p.m. to as late as 5 a.m. on blast nights. Travelers can avoid delays by using alternate routes.

Blasting is scheduled at night to minimize impacts to traffic.  Blasts happen late at night due to procedures the contractor must follow for documenting the first blast and setting explosive charges before each blast.

Five minutes and one minute before each blast, a warning siren will sound. The siren will likely be louder than the blast itself, which happens deep underground.  Click here for more information about blasting.


Sellwood Bridge committee wraps up design phase

Multnomah County Press Release - February 8, 2013

The Community Advisory Committee for the Sellwood Bridge Project will hold its final meeting on Monday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is at SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Avenue. Meetings are open to the public and include time for public comment. 

The agenda includes:

  • Updates on project construction, funding, and a new traffic signal at SE Tacoma and SE 6th Avenue
  • Review of final bridge design renderings
  • A retrospective of the committee’s accomplishments since it began in 2006
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Sellwood Bridge committee wraps up design phase

Multnomah County Press Release - February 8, 2013

The Community Advisory Committee for the Sellwood Bridge Project will hold its final meeting on Monday, February 11 at 5:30 p.m. The meeting is at SMILE Station, 8210 SE 13th Avenue.  Meetings are open to the public and include time for public comment. 

The agenda includes:

  • Updates on project construction, funding, and a new traffic signal at SE Tacoma and SE 6th Avenue
  • Review of final bridge design renderings
  • A retrospective of the committee’s accomplishments since it began in 2006

The committee includes local residents representing neighborhoods, businesses, bridge neighbors, transportation modes that use the bridge, river users, and design professionals.  With the project’s design phase ending, the meeting will be the committee’s last. County Commissioner Deborah Kafoury will attend to thank committee members for their years of volunteer service to advance the project. 

“The citizen advisory committee for the Sellwood Bridge project succeeded where many other task forces have not,” Kafoury said.  “These volunteers worked together, despite different points of view, to find consensus and make the best decisions they could for their community as a whole.  They deserve our thanks for their collective wisdom, leadership and ability to come together to find a solution to a decades-old problem.”

The new Sellwood Bridge is scheduled to open in the summer of 2015, with overall project completion in 2016.  Multnomah County maintains the Sellwood Bridge and 300 miles of roads and bridges.


Sellwood Bridge closes Thursday for bridge move

Multnomah County Press Release - January 16, 2013

A week-long closure of the Sellwood Bridge will begin on Thursday, January 17 at 5 a.m. to allow a contractor to slide the main river span north to set up a detour bridge. The bridge is scheduled to reopen by 7 a.m. on Thursday, January 24. The public will use the detour span from late January until the new Sellwood Bridge opens in 2015.

The posted westbound detour routes during the closure are:

  • Northbound: Hwy. 99E to Ross Island Bridge to Hwy. 43
  • Southbound: Hwy. 99E to Interstate 205 (Abernethy Bridge) to Hwy. 43

Eastbound routes are the reverse. Congestion is expected on the north detour route during weekday commute hours. Travelers should plan their alternate route in advance and expect longer trips during the closure, especially on weekdays. Bicyclists may prefer the Hawthorne Bridge for the northern detour. A portion of the westside trail near the bridge and both lanes of Highway 43 will be re-routed during the bridge closure but will remain open at all times.

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