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Heavy (party) traffic greets new Sellwood Bridge
After more than four years and $317 million, the new Sellwood Bridge opened Saturday and was promptly swamped by hundreds celebrating the new structure.
The new bridge opened at about noon Feb. 27, with a parade of vintage cars. An opening ceremony featured speeches by Multnomah County and Portland city leaders, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley and others involved in the process. People arriving early to the event received Sellwood Bridge lapel pins to commemorate the opening.
Booths with food, shops and nonprofit groups were stationed on the new structure. Music was provided by the Transcendental Brass Band, LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band, the New Iberians, School of Rock and groups from Sellwood Middle School and Cleveland High School.
The 90-year-old original Sellwood Bridge closed Thursday evening, Feb. 25, with a candlelight walk across the structure one last time. Most of the old structure will be demolished and recycled.
The original bridge opened in mid-December 1925, with its 300-foot deck standing about 75 above the Willamette River. Gilpin Construction Co. built the bridge for $541,000 (nearly $7 million in todays dollars).
The new $317 million bridge was built by Slayden-Sundt Joint Venture, and T.Y. Lin International. It officially opens to traffic on Tuesday, March 1.
More construction is needed to complete the project, which should be finished by November.