Washington County will repair bridge rather than prohibit driving

Washington County will repair bridge rather than prohibit driving

porter road bridge

(Image: Google Maps.)

Washington County has opted to spend $125,000 to $175,000 on temporary repairs to its least sturdy bridge rather than close it to auto traffic.

As we wrote last month, the bridge on Porter Road northeast of Forest Grove is significant for biking because it’s part of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway and might also become part of a “Council Creek Regional Trail” that would eventually create a low-stress link between Hillsboro and Banks.

It’s also significant for driving because it currently carries an estimated 1,100 motor vehicles per day.

Last month, Washington County Operations & Maintenance Division Manager Dave Schamp described a repair for the failing bridge as “kicking the can down the road.” But on Dec. 23, the Oregonian reported Monday, county commissioners asked Schamp to repair it rather than either rebuild it or close it to cars.

The bridge currently carries an estimated 1,100 cars per day. It’s at the 15-mile marker in the image below:

forest grove to banks bikeway

The central segment of the Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway that joins Hillsboro and Vernonia.

The current bridge is 65 years old. If an entirely new bridge were built (rather than the proposed repair), it’d cost the county about $1 million. Included in the new bridge would be the wider lanes (12 feet rather than nine feet) and six-foot shoulders (though not dedicated bike lanes) that are part of current county standards for local roads.

Assuming a continued average of 1,100 auto trips per day, that’d be a cost of 4 cents per car trip over the course of the next 50 years.

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