Multnomah County has released a tentative construction schedule for the remainder of the Sellwood Bridge project. All of the dates are still subject to change, but drivers should be aware that:
• The southbound ramp from the west end of the bridge to Highway 43 is expected to open on Aug. 29. That will allow drivers to turn left from the bridge toward Lake Oswego and West Linn, instead of having to drive north on Highway 43 to the turnaround point at Taylor’s Ferry Road. The permanent traffic lights at both ends of the bridge are also expected to be activated on Aug 29.
With construction scheduled to end by Thanksgiving 2016, here’s a look at the schedule for remaining work items. All dates are subject to change:
- Bridge closure for deck sealing, permanent lane striping: Several days in mid-to-late August (dates TBD)
- Left turn from bridge to Hwy. 43 south opens: August 29
- Activate traffic signals at west end of bridge and at SE Tacoma/6th Ave.: August 29
- Traffic lanes and sidewalk on north side of east approach open: August 24
- In-water work (remove detour bridge, piles, fenders, work bridges) ends: October 31
- South sidewalk of bridge opens: November 16
The Sellwood Bridge is Portland’s southernmost Willamette River crossing. The old span, built in 1925, was a narrow, industrial-era structure. High up on its piers, it nevertheless had an uncomplicated, slender beauty as it angled through the trees of the river’s west bank.
We’ve known the old bridge was doomed for a long time now. It was never anchored to the bedrock when it was built, and as the western bank shifted, the bridge went dangerously out of plumb. In the time I’ve lived in Portland, the bridge went from handling trucks, buses and cars, to just buses and cars, and finally, only cars were allowed over.
Plus, its narrow sidewalk was a terror to every cyclist and pedestrian who had to meet halfway across.
Knowing its days were numbered, I began to photograph it. Working at my favorite time to think visually—after 10pm—I became intimately familiar with this broken giant.
The Sellwood Bridge is open again, after paving this weekend.
But commuters will have to wait until Thanksgiving before it’s completely finished.
The old green steel that used to be the Sellwood Bridge has been cut into a half dozen pieces. Most of it is now on barges waiting to be taken away.
Work will soon start on an art project. Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen said it’ll be a series of 23 statues, each about 14 feet high.