Multnomah County is inviting the public to share their views on cost-saving ideas for the project to replace the 95-year-old Burnside Bridge through a public survey.
The survey and an online open house are available through Tuesday, December 14 at burnsidebridge.participate.online.
Funding for the bridge replacement project became more challenging after the 2020 Regional Transportation Bond Measure failed. The measure would have allocated $150 million to the project.
There is a high amount of competition for funding large infrastructure projects, and labor and materials have increased in costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response, the project team has identified three key refinements to the Long Span Alternative proposed for the new bridge.
Reduce the overall width of the bridge, to save up to $150 million
The proposed width would be roughly the same as the existing bridge but with one less vehicle lane. Space for bicyclists and pedestrians would be wider than the current bridge and a crash-worthy barrier would be installed between traffic lanes and the shared path.
Girder structure for west approach to bridge
Selecting a girder structure on the west side instead a type of structure above the bridge deck would save $20-$40 million. The girder provides more open views from the bridge, reducing impacts on views of Old Town/Chinatown and Skidmore national historic districts.
Bascule moveable span
Cost analysis has confirmed that a moveable bascule span, similar to the existing bridge, would save $25-$35 million over a vertical lift option with towers, similar to those on the Hawthorne Bridge. This option would provide more open views from the bridge and reduce impacts to views of national historic districts and the central city overall.
The online open house goes into greater depth on the key refinements and a short video provides visual examples of what refinements would look like. It is offered in English, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian/Ukranian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
Input collected from the public will be shared with the project’s Community Task Force, a policy group of elected and appointed regional leaders and Multnomah County’s Board of Commissioners.
An analysis of the refinements is scheduled to be published in Spring 2022 as a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement, followed by a 45-day public comment period.
The Final Environmental Impact Statement is scheduled for publication in late Summer 2022, once it is approved by the Federal Highway Administration.
From there, the project proceeds into the design phase with a design consultant being hired. If funding can be secured, construction could begin in 2025 with a new bridge open as early as 2030.
Additional project information can be found at burnsidebridge.org.