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  • 22 May 2015

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Sellwood Bridge to close for three days starting Wednesday

Motorists, bicyclist and pedestrians who have endured traffic delays during the Sellwood Bridge construction project have a new problems to seal with — the bridge will be closed for three days, starting Wednesday.

According to Multnomah County, which is in charge of the project, the closure is necessary for the contractor to shift traffic onto the new east approach from S.E. Tacoma Street. It is scheduled to last from 5 a.m. on Nov. 19 to as late as 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 21.

The contractor is then scheduled to demolish the eastern spans of the old approach in December and construct the north half of the approach in 2015.

When the bridge reopens on Friday, users will travel a wide S-curve from the detour bridge onto the new east approach. Bicyclists and pedestrians will share a path separated from traffic by a concrete barrier. The speed limit on the bridge will be reduced from 25 mph to 20 mph for safety, until the new bridge opens in 2016.

During the closure, the bridge will be closed to motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. Highway 43 on the west end of the bridge will remain open to two-way traffic, however. Here are travel tips from the county for bridge users:

Motor Vehicles

The posted westbound detour routes during the closure are:

Northbound - Hwy. 99E (McLoughlin Blvd.) to Ross Island Bridge to Hwy. 43.

Southbound - Hwy. 99E to Interstate 205 (Abernethy Bridge at Oregon City) to Hwy. 43

Eastbound routes are the reverse.

Congestion is expected on roads between the Sellwood and Ross Island bridges during commute hours. Travelers should plan their alternate route in advance and expect longer trips during the closure.

Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Bicyclists and pedestrians may prefer the Hawthorne Bridge for the northern detour. The Hawthorne Bridge can be accessed from the Sellwood neighborhood by the Springwater Trail.

The start of construction on the north half of the east approach will change several bicycle and pedestrian features on the northeast side of the bridge. On Wednesday a staircase between the east end of the bridge and the Springwater Trail will close, as well as the sidewalk on the north side of Tacoma between Southeast Grand Ave. and the bridge. These areas will be in the construction zone starting this week.

The Sellwood Bridge is normally open during construction and will remain open through the 2014 holiday season after November 21. Please remember to support local businesses during construction.

For more project information, visit www.sellwoodbridge.org.