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Westmoreland neighbors see final MAX Bybee Station plans

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Community Affairs representative Jennifer Koozer shows added crosswalks to come, on S.E. Bybee Boulevard. These will help pedestrians have more visibility for crossing, and will help to slow traffic, creating a bit of a gateway for the bridge station environment.At a public Open House held at Westmoreland Union Manor on April 23rd, Westmorelanders got a good look at the approved design of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Bybee Station and its surrounding infrastructure.

“The station is already under construction,” assured TriMet Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Community Affairs representative Jennifer Koozer. “Crews have finished pile-driving the foundations for the station’s bus pullouts.”

The design shows that the bridge will be widened on both the north and south side, as originally proposed. “This will provide a pullout for buses and lift vehicles on both sides of the bridge, and a station entrance on each side of the bridge, with stairs and elevators,” Koozer told THE BEE.

Some attendees commented on “quick drop” areas on either side of the bridge. “These are driver-remains-at-wheel spaces, where light rail riders can be picked up or dropped off,” explained Koozer.

People using the bridge this summer will find intermittent, alternating sidewalk closures for several months, Koozer said. “This summer, or fall, we will see some traffic lane closures, controlled by a flagger, while they are working on one side or the other, as they are building the bus pullouts.” However, she assured, at no time will the bridge be completely closed to traffic.

Project Director’s report

TriMet’s Project Director for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project, Rob Barnard, was on hand, and gave THE BEE an update on the overall project’s progress.

“We're currently spending about $1 million a day in construction,” Barnard revealed. “The project is currently 40% complete.”

There'll be a lot of construction activity the summer, he said. “This is a year of civil construction; on the roads, the rail crossings, and installing large beams for our crossing structures. This fall, we will bring in our systems contractor, who is busy fabricating all the [electrical and signaling] components for the system.”

With their agreements now in place, Barnard said TriMet is well-positioned to complete the project. “There is $745 million contracted with the federal government. In terms of the local share, somewhere between 93% and 97% is in place.”

Completion is expected in the fall of 2015.