[IMAGE]TriMet-Portland-Milwaukie-light-rail-bridge-2.jpg[/IMAGE]Last week, after nearly a decade of planning and community outreach, TriMet and project partners celebrated the start of construction on the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge. The bridge is the first to be built over the Willamette River in more than 40 years.
It is also the first of its kind, with light rail, buses, a future Portland Streetcar and wide bike and pedestrian paths — and no private vehicles.
The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project (PMLR) is the agency's sixth MAX construction project and will expand the rail system to 60 miles.
"The bridge and the overall project will link east and west, improve and expand transit, and most importantly, create up to 14,000 jobs when we most need them," said TriMet GM Neil McFarlane.
The PMLR project is the second MAX extension into Clackamas County after the MAX Green Line opened in 2009.
The light rail bridge will be the first cable-stayed bridge for the region, extending 1,720 feet (.326 miles) over the Willamette River. It is the first of its kind, carrying light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.
The 7.3-mile project is the region's sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and Park Avenue in Clackamas County.
The project includes 10 stations. It will create up to 14,000 direct and indirect jobs and generate up to $573 million in personal earnings. Federal funds will pay for half of the $1.49 billion project; state and local partners are funding the balance. TriMet's share is less than 5 percent of the project budget and will not be needed until FY2013. The line is set to open in September 2015.
The overall project is still in the Final Design phase. The Federal Transit Administration has approved early construction work on the bridge, as construction in the Willamette River is limited due to migrating fish. The "fish window" allows in-river work from July 1 through October 31 each year.
Project partners include Clackamas County, Oregon Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.