Portland-Milwaukie MAX line is 50% complete, on time and on budget

Lincoln Street/3rd Ave Station Construction
Located between the pedestrian paths of 2nd and 3rd avenues at the southern end of Downtown Portland, the SW Lincoln Street/3rd Ave MAX Station (center) is adjacent to several residential towers and Portland State University facilities, with access to the fountains and paths that make up the Halprin District.

50 percent, and counting!

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project has reached an exciting milestone: We’re 50 percent complete.

And, we have a grand opening date, too: The region’s sixth MAX line is scheduled to begin transporting riders between Downtown Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County on Saturday, September 12, 2015. (Mark your calendar… There will be festivities!)

We started construction back in July 2011, and crews have been hard at work building 10 new MAX stations: one in Downtown Portland, one in the South Waterfront area, six in Southeast Portland, one in Milwaukie and one in north Clackamas County.

Thanks for your patience with the temporary road closures this summer related to project construction! It will be well worth it come 2015, when fewer cars are on the road thanks to the handy new MAX service nearby.

Have a look at two years of construction progress on the project Flickr page

A convenient new north-south transit option

2015 may be a ways off, but it’s exciting to think about the convenient new transportation option this project will bring for the many people who need to get around in the fast-growing areas of Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.

For one, commuters in the congested McLoughlin Boulevard/Highway 99E corridor will finally have an alternative to sitting in traffic. By the year 2030, the new line is expected to increase transit commutes from within this corridor to Downtown Portland by 20 percent, and reduce weekday car trips by more than 9,100. It will reduce travel time between Milwaukie and the South Waterfront by an estimated 58 percent, and between Milwaukie and Portland State University by 29 percent.

Commuters in the congested McLoughlin Boulevard/Highway 99E corridor will finally have an alternative to sitting in traffic.

Bridge over Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy 99E
The Milwaukie/Main St MAX Station will be located in south downtown Milwaukie, on the empty lot at the top center of this photo. Crews are currently constructing the Kellogg Bridge from the station over Kellogg Lake and McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy 99E. The bridge will keep MAX separated from traffic as it crosses over several roads, and the portion over the lake includes a multi-use path for cyclists and pedestrians.

Creating good jobs

There’s another important story behind this project, and it’s about jobs. To date, the project has supported more than 6,800 direct, indirect and induced jobs. This includes contracting opportunities for 111 Disadvantaged Business Enterprises who have so far received $115 million in contracts. 

The product of partnerships

As you may know, light rail projects are regional collaborations that take 12-15 years to go from an idea to construction and opening. Initiated in 1999 as part of Metro‘s long-term regional transportation plan, the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is the result of a partnership among the Federal Transit Administration, the State of Oregon, Clackamas County, Metro, the City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, the City of Oregon City, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the City of Portland, the Portland Development Commission and TriMet. Our project partners are picking up 95 percent of the cost of the project, and we are covering the remaining 5 percent.

Stay in the loop

At this important milestone, we’re proud to report that the project is both on time and on budget. As construction continues, you can keep up on our progress when you “Like” the PMLR page on Facebook. And there is much more project history and details at our project website.

John Fall

I help TriMet communicate about the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project by coordinating the project website and managing project social media (in addition to general writing and copyediting). I'm also a mean cook who likes to improvise recipes—ask me for one the next time you see me on the 8-Jackson Park/NE 15th.

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