Checking in on Broadway Bridge painting project work zone and closures

Checking in on Broadway Bridge painting project work zone and closures


The tight, loud, and unnerving conditions will persist for another six weeks or so.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The new paint on the Broadway Bridge may be beautiful, but riding around the work zones has been ugly. And things won’t be back to normal until the end of April.

We’re curious to hear how the closures and detours are — or aren’t — working for you.

Since late last summer when the repainting project began, we’ve been fielding complaints and hearing serious concerns about the state of the bikeway. We’ve confirmed at least one broken bone (and possible lawsuit) caused after a man collided with another bridge user in the narrow opening between the bridge’s rail and scaffolding. Some people are so fed up with the loud noises, shifting detours and narrow conditions that they’ve either stopped using the bridge or have started taking the lane on the main deck with other traffic.

That option will go away two Mondays from now because the County just announced that the bridge will be closed to all motor vehicles March 21st and lasting through April 10th (that’s 22 days). The bad news is that there will still only be one sidepath open (the northern one) from now until then. The good news is the expanded closure is to allow workers to take down the scaffolding. Yes, the end is in sight. The County hopes the project is completed by the end of April.

Until then, your best bet is to use lots of caution. We’ve heard reports (and confirmed ourselves) that the flaggers that were initially on site every day are no longer there and the detour signage isn’t as good as it should be. Last night while biking home in the dark and rain I noticed there was no advanced warning of the south path closure until the very last minute. Also last night we heard about someone who had a serious crash on the streetcar in the same location — likely because they saw the closure and tried to cross the street at a bad angle to reach the north side.

If you’d like to share your concerns, praise, or comments with the County, use their webform or tweet @Multco.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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