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Bridges are rising for I-205 MAX line

Stark, Washington will face regular lane closures

Monday marked the beginning of a seasonlong headache for rush-hour motorists on Southeast Stark and Washington streets as construction crews set up shop in the Hazelwood neighborhood to put up a bridge for light rail along Interstate 205. Just east of the I-205 overpass, the streets will be reduced by one or two lanes all spring, according to TriMet, the regional transit agency that is overseeing light-rail construction. Crews will work from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for about the next three months. Drivers who customarily use that section of Southeast Stark and Washington streets during rush hour may want to think about alternate routes or just “give themselves a little extra time,” said Peggy LaPoint, a TriMet spokeswoman. The bridge over Stark and Washington marks the first of seven new spans planned for the project. Pile-driving for the next bridge project, to cross Johnson Creek Boulevard, will begin in mid-April. The construction project will span 6.5 miles. Other light-rail bridges planned as part of the line for outer Southeast Portland include Powell Boulevard, Harold Street, Foster Road, and 92nd Avenue and Crystal Springs Boulevard. A multimodal bridge also is being planned for the Springwater Corridor. The new I-205/Portland Mall light-rail line is expected to be completed in about two years. The new line will connect Gateway Transit Center and Clackamas Town Center, and extend to downtown’s transit mall along Fifth and Sixth avenues. For information on the project, go to www.trimet.org/i205/project. Though the I-205 line is not even close to complete, officials around the Portland region have been encouraged by the ascension of pro-transit Democrats to key positions in the 2007 U.S. Congress. Local officials already are considering where or how the light-rail system could be extended. Vancouver, Wash., and Milwaukie are considered the most likely next destinations. Construction on the light-rail project also has begun downtown, where crews are working on small sections of Fifth and Sixth avenues. Bus routes that normally run on those streets have for the most part been relocated to Third and Fourth avenues for the next two years. For information on construction downtown and proposed alternate routes there, and to sign up for e-mail traffic updates, see www.keepportlandmoving.org. The overall I-205/Portland Mall light-rail project is expected to cost $557.4 million, of which about $207 million goes toward for the downtown transit mall section. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.