Three weeks was a lot to ask.
Indeed, the work we completed along Morrison and Yamhill streets in Downtown Portland was more intensive than the two MAX improvement projects that preceded it. Over the last three weeks, we replaced four sections of the original MAX alignment, making for a smoother, more reliable ride.
The work at the SW 11th Avenue turnaround involved replacing deteriorating 30-year-old wooden rail ties with composite ties and concrete, installing new switch machines and increasing the size of the drains underneath them. (The switches on Morrison got their own heaters, too.) We also replaced the crumbling asphalt infill around the rails with rubberized grout, which will last significantly longer and do a better job of preventing movement.
Upon digging up the old rails, we realized we could do more work on our signal system than we had initially scheduled, so we installed new cable, too.
More straightforward was the work at SW 1st Avenue, where we installed new curved rails and poured the rubberized grout. This section of track had been replaced in 1996, but since curved rail wears relatively quickly, this was a perfect opportunity to do it again without further disruption.
Meanwhile at the closed stations between the work zones, crews did some deep cleaning. Lights were replaced, signs were spruced up and tiles were fixed along the platforms.
And throughout it all, our amazing riders — you — adapted and persevered. (An even more amazing feat considering the protests that took place on the first day of the new commute!) This time around, it was a lot harder to avoid transferring to and from shuttle buses. Some trips had to be radically reconfigured, and some riders chose to skip transit altogether and bike, walk or carpool instead.
Although coordinating service around the disruption presented as much of a challenge as the construction itself, the patience and understanding you showed us helped make everything go smoothly. We can’t thank you enough for that.
Now we’re back, and we’re better than ever. See you out there!