Sellwood Bridge Update- Closer… closer… closer…

It seems like a dream, but the Sellwood Bridge construction is actually creeping closer to a beginning.   Here’s the bridge news-you-can-use for this month…

  • Budget– In the wake of May’s Clackamas County vote not to raise their licensing fees, the project stood at $290M (million dollars) with a $42M shortfall.  New numbers look somewhat better, with a $265M cost and “only” a $20M shortfall.  The savings is coming from several sources.  With the design process now 60% complete, more accurate numbers are available and estimates are better.  Some of the costs to acquire right-of-way have also dropped (especially with the closing of Staff Jennings), but most of the savings is from the switch to the “Shoo Fly” option for a temporary bridge during construction.  The County also has more grants pending with the State and Feds, so more money may be coming in soon.  The Daily Journal of Commerce had a great article on this in August.
  • Timeline–  There’s a couple dates coming up soon that are important.  The change to the Shoo Fly required new permits to be issued, and they’re in the pipeline.  They must issue by Oct 15 with “no room for flexibility”.  Assuming they come, then in-water construction on the temporary construction bridges can start Dec 1, 2011.  This is another time-critical date, because if construction can’t start Dec 1 then the entire project will be delayed and all the money saved so far will float back out the window.
  • Design– The final design is coming together bit by bit.  The contractors are approaching 60% complete on their part of the design, and citizen groups are putting the finishing touches on their contributions.  The CAC (Community Advisory Committee) finalized their recommendations for lighting, path details, gateways, benches, and more in a public meeting on Aug 29.  These recommendations will go on to the Public Stakeholders Committee for final review.

If you’re a bridge junkie, then you’ll find all the latest info at the County’s Sellwood Bridge Project Website, including a new computer-animated video showing the entire Shoo-Fly process.  Pretty cool!


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