Way, way back in 2010, Our Sellwood Bridge Update column began with these words: “It seems that every time our Client Shuttle starts across the Sellwood Bridge, a nervous voice will come from the back, asking ‘so… are they any closer to fixing this thing?'” We are pleased, proud, and relieved to say that after almost eight years of design and construction, we finally have a reassuring answer for that nervous client. They aren’t just very, very close to fixing it, they’re done! As of this month we can officially say
THE SELLWOOD BRIDGE IS FINISHED!
Yes, done! Completed. Accomplished. Concluded, finalized, wound up, and ENDED! Well, mostly. SellwoodBridge.org, the county’s website for the project, points out that “…as construction work wraps up, the contractor is working on clean-up tasks throughout the project area. At times workers will be out on the bridge or around the roadway. Traffic cones and warning signs will be put up if work affects traffic.” There were indeed a few construction cones on the Bridge when we checked today, but they were few and far between.
Here’s some last minute milestones as we get used to having a Bridge we don’t have to think about…
Speed, weight and vehicle length limits are changing: The speed limit on the bridge has increased to 30 mph and the speed limit on Hwy. 43 near the bridge returned to 35 mph. The 30-foot vehicle length limit on the bridge has been eliminated. Signs for the new vehicle weight limit on the bridge will be posted in December.
TriMet service returns: TriMet bus service has returned to the Sellwood Bridge after a 12-year absence. Line 99 provides weekday rush hour service across the bridge, connecting the east side with westside destinations from Lake Oswego to downtown Portland. Read the news on TriMet’s website.
Changes for 6th/Tacoma Signal: The traffic signal phases for north and south-bound movements on SE 6th Ave. will be combined to improve east-west traffic flow on Tacoma St. The signal change should be made in the next month. Signs will be installed to prevent right turns on red for westbound traffic on Tacoma and northbound traffic on 6th.
The end of the Sellwood Bridge Construction also means an end to our Sellwood Bridge Update column, so this is the last time our crack Bridge Reporting staff with regale you with the details of the revival of our wobbly neighbor. Both fans of the Update can take comfort in the fact that we’ll do a retrospective of the entire Bridge Project in next month’s newsletter, and, if anything new on the Bridge DOES happen in the next few years, we’ll be right here to tell you all about it.
At the end of an era like this, people search for ways to express the bittersweet turmoil we all must be feeling. The sad truth is that mere words can never express the depth of our emotions at ending the Sellwood Bridge Update. Instead of relying on empty platitudes, we’ll close this last column with the words that have brought tears to our eyes since the Sellwood Bridge Update began, and advice that will serve Bridge trackers well into their lonely future…
“Multnomah County maintains the definitive website on everything related to the Sellwood Bridge Replacement project at 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.”
Happy crossings from all of us here at the Sellwood Bridge Update!