Here in Portland, we’re so well known for the many bridges crossing the Willamette and Columbia Rivers that our unofficial nickname is Bridgetown, and one bridge in particular remains infamous. The Sellwood Bridge, connecting the southernmost regions of east Portland with the southern West Hills and Lake Oswego, has been derided as one of the worst bridges in America. Though it’s location is important, conveniently connecting areas like the South Waterfront real estate and OHSU homes and commutes, many people take the long way around, using the Marquam Bridge or Ross Island Bridge to avoid the Sellwood Bridge altogether. Luckily, committees have been working diligently to come up with a viable replacement bridge, and today, the Sellwood Bridge project is finally underway!
Workers are breaking ground on the long-awaited project today, after Portland’s transportation bureaus announced that they received $17.7 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s TIGER program for the final piece of funding needed to replace the bridge.
The first part of the $268 million project to get underway is the detour bridge that will be built in order to allow crews to work undisturbed on the main bridge. Work on the new bridge is slated to begin in July 2012 and completed by the end of 2015.
The Sellwood neighborhood is working with the City of Portland and the Regional Arts and Culture Council to develop a gateway feature that will add some elements of design and celebration to the new bridge. The idea behind the gateway is to make it clear to people driving eastbound on the bridge that they are coming into a neighborhood and that they are no longer on a highway.
The Sellwood Bridge is very important the Portland metro region, as the bridge provides the only crossing for a 12-mile stretch of the Willamette River between Oregon City and Portland, and it connects major highways, including Oregon Highways 99E, 43, and 224. It is the busiest two-lane bridge in Oregon, with an average daily traffic count of 30,000 vehicles. It is also located in a heavily populated area that is experiencing high density development. The bridge is a primary connection to west Portland for residents and businesses in Sellwood, Westmoreland, and areas beyond. Many of the bridge users are commuters who live in Clackamas County.
The finished bridge will no doubt improve Portland area commutes and accessibility to more great Portland Real Estate. Residents of Happy Valley, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Clackamas, and other Portland area suburbs will greatly benefit from upcoming new construction in Portland-area transportation, so stay tuned to the McDonald Group Realtor blog for more updates!
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