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Clarion Cleveland High School Portland, OR
Issue Date: Thursday, October 20, 2011 Issue: December 5, 2011 Last Update: Thursday, November 03, 2011
Clarion

At-a-glance

Construction is already beginning on the Willamette. - Cameron Fish Photo
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     Anybody who has spent any time near the river this summer will have noticed the various cranes, workers and the skeletons of two temporary construction bridges. These are the beginnings of a new bridge that will span the Willamette River. Temporarily dubbed the Caruthers Bridge, the bridge has been designed to carry not cars, but pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and, most prominently, a segment of the MAX Orange Line.

     This new light-rail line will run for 7.3 miles from Union Station in downtown Portland, across the river, and down to Milwaukee. Planned to open in 2015, the Orange Line will service stops near the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Brooklyn Neighborhood, and within the city of Milwaukee. Tentative plans for future expansion also exist, with the line potentially reaching as far as Oregon City eventually.

     Metro expects the Orange Line to become a very popular transportation option for Portlanders, with predictions that, by 2030, it will carry up to 25,500 people during weekdays. They expect the line to be within walking distance of about 22,000 homes and 85,000 employees. Work on the creation of the line itself is expected to bring around 14,000 jobs to the city.

     The MAX Orange Line is also the second phase of a two-part initiative called the South Corridor project. The project originally stemmed from overwhelming community support in bringing light rail service to Southeast Portland and Clackamas. The first phase of the South Corridor project was completed in 2009 with the introduction of the MAX Green Line, which brought MAX to the Clackamas Town Center.

     Although construction of the Orange Line itself has not yet begun, work on the first part of the project—the Caruthers Bridge—began July 1 this past summer. As the first new bridge since the Fremont Bridge was built in 1973, it is estimated to cost $134.6 million. Money is coming from lottery revenue, TriMet, and a federal grant. It is scheduled to open in 2015, to coincide with the completion of the MAX Orange Line.

     For the safety of people using the river as well as the safety of the construction workers, a slow/no wake zone is in affect for 500 feet upstream and downstream of the current construction—between the Marquam and Ross Island bridges. This will last until December, when in-water work on the bridge will cease. In-water construction of the bridge, which includes stretching temporary work bridges used for transportation of equipment and materials to the building site, can only take place in a four-month window from July1 through October 31, due to environmental reasons involving migration patterns of local fish.

     In order to try working around these restrictions, part of the construction this fall will be dedicated to creating two cofferdams around where the piers will be built, which allow the workers to pump out water from within and create a dry area to work even past October.

     The bridge will be a cable-stayed design, with two piers on opposing shores and two in the river in between, on top of which will be 180 feet towers, supporting the bridge’s 3.5 miles of cable. At around 1720 feet long, the bridge will carry bicycles and pedestrians on two 14-feet-wide paths in addition to the MAX Orange Line rail.


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Fri, 04 Nov 2011 03:55:00 GMT
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