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Light rail construction challenges motorists in Brooklyn

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - On the evening of September 17th, eastbound lanes of S.E. Powell Boulevard are closed, while workers finish removing the south side remnants of the S.E. 17th Ave. overpass, taken out to make way for the Inner Southeast MAX light rail line. The overpass for northbound motorists will be rebuilt in about a year.The Brooklyn neighborhood section of the Portland Milwaukie MAX light rail line continues to change the landscape, and challenge drivers. September 17-22, S.E. Powell Boulevard was narrowed to one lane in each direction for several blocks on either side of the S.E. 17th Avenue railroad overpass, for nighttime demolition of adjacent retaining walls.

Workers using heavy equipment built a temporary metal barrier at S.E. 16th and Powell to help shore up the slope, while others commenced removing concrete retaining walls along the closed pedestrian underpass on the south side of Powell.

Nighttime traffic along Powell Boulevard around the site was, and will be, shifted to the north side of the street between S.E. 10th and 22nd Avenues, with one lane open in each direction. Several turning restrictions and detours will be clearly marked, with access to nearby businesses remaining open via side streets and driveways. Nighttime noise variances have been approved by the City of Portland.

The TriMet project supervisors determined that the pedestrian access pathway running beneath the railroad tracks required additional sloping and reinforcement to make it properly accessible to bicycles, wheelchairs, and similar vehicles. Consequently, heavy metal I-beams were installed near the junction of S.E. 16th and Powell to build up the slope, and to help it conform to the requirements of Americans With Disabilities (ADA) access.

Constantly updated information can be found online at: www.trimet.org/pm/construction -- and questions can be referred to the project’s local Community Affairs Representative, Jennifer Koozer, at 503/962-2116. (David F. Ashton contributed to this story.)