The span for the new Sauvie Island Bridge sits jacked up on a barge at Terminal 2 in Portland, about eight miles upstream of its destination. The 1600-ton structure will replace the existing bridge that was built in 1950. According to Multnomah County, that bridge “is not adequate to meet the current needs of the islandâ€™s farmers and industrial businesses, is substandard for bicyclists and pedestrians, and is at the end of its service life.”
The new bridge was raised at the terminal because it was safer and reduced the amount of time the Multnomah Channel was closed to river traffic. The bottom of the arch was 75 feet above the river as tugs moved the barge downstream.
Just before the barge sailed past, a tractor-trailer stalled in the intersection at the south end of the St. John Bridge. That backed up traffic in three directions while a tow truck removed the disabled vehicle. Thankfully, I got to my shooting spot minutes before the road was closed.
And once again the clouds covered the sun as the bridge was moved into place. At 365 feet, the new span is significantly longer than the existing bridge. It is also much wider, allowing six-foot shoulders/bike lanes in each direction and six-foot sidewalks on each side.
Markings on a beam make the $38.5-million structure look like a steal! The Sauvie Island Bridge project has been in the works since 2001. It has been delayed for a variety of reasons, including environmental protection and waiting for the barge to be available. The bridge should be ready for traffic sometime next summer.