The Sellwood Bridge Project is continuing quietly along. The project is more than 40% complete with the new bridge on schedule to open in the fall of 2015, and is safe and open in the meantime. The big addition this month was a temporary signal light on the west end of the bridge. Traffic on Highway 43 and the bridge will pass through the new signal until the new two-level interchange opens in fall 2015. Details about the new traffic signal include:
- Westbound bridge traffic headed northbound and southbound traffic headed to Lake Owego will have free movement unless the bicycle/pedestrian signal is activated.
- The traffic signal will alternate green time between the southbound to eastbound left turn traffic and the northbound Lake Oswego to Portland traffic.
- Two northbound highway lanes (one through lane and one turning right onto the bridge) will be routed through the signal. The left lane will be the through lane and the right lane will turn onto the bridge. This is the reverse of the old configuration.
- Push buttons will allow bicyclists and pedestrians to activate the signal to safely cross from the north to the south side of the bridge and from the bridge across the highway to River View Cemetery.
- Motor vehicles will continue to access the cemetery at the existing driveway south of the bridge. A traffic signal at the cemetery entrance will be removed. For motor vehicles, the lower portion of the cemetery road is currently open only to the funeral home.
- Westbound bridge traffic headed south on Hwy 43 will continue north to the turn around at SW Taylors Ferry Road.
- The new traffic pattern is expected to increase rush hour congestion in the short term. Traffic engineers will monitor traffic flow and adjust the signal timing as needed. During construction the signal will be turned off at times when flaggers direct traffic.
Demolition of two closed highway ramps that pass under the bridge begins next week. In 2014 the highway lanes will shift west against new retaining walls to allow the contractor to build the east half of the interchange. A drawing of new traffic phase can be viewed at www.sellwoodbridge.org.
As always, Multnomah County maintains the definitive website on everything related to the Sellwood Bridge Replacement project, www.sellwoodbridge.org. Construction and closure alerts, archived information, and other resources are all available 24/7 for your convenience. If you’re looking for something that’s not on the website, you can contact Mike Pullen (firstname.lastname@example.org, 503-209-4111) or visit www.sellwoodbridge.org.