We’re about to kick off another MAX improvement project, but this one will be a bit different than last year’s lengthy Morrison–Yamhill MAX work. While the end result will be similar — a smoother ride and system upgrades to help keep trains running on time — the Providence Park work will be shorter and will have less impact on MAX service.
This project will only disrupt MAX Blue and Red lines from Sunday, May 6, through Friday, May 11. Still, with fewer trains running on the west side and on the Blue Line, riders should plan ahead: leave extra time for your commute, avoid rush hour commuting (if you can) and use TriMet bus service or other transportation. We’ve shared all you need to know about getting through the closure, including where to catch shuttle buses, on our Providence Park MAX Improvements page.
The work will be done on SW 18th Avenue, right in front of the Providence Park stadium. This work is unrelated to the stadium expansion construction. Previous MAX improvement projects focused on removing the wooden ties used in MAX construction during the early 1980s and replacing them with longer-lasting materials. There are no wooden ties underneath the 18th Avenue tracks, but there is a need for improvement.
Ever notice how MAX sways side-to-side in the Providence Park area? That’s because when the rails were installed in the early 1990s, they were attached to concrete blocks under the roadway with spring-clips, insulated plates and bolts, with asphalt filled in between the rails. Over time this asphalt has broken down, and the result is that side-to-side movement. It’s not just a rider comfort issue – the swaying movement can cause mechanical issues with our trains.
For this project we’ll be removing the existing rails and replacing them with new rails fitted into pre-formed rubber jackets. Then concrete and a special type of grout, which are more durable than asphalt, will be filled in between the rails. This all will hold the rails in place better.
Crews will also replace outdated switch machines and improve the drainage underneath them. Right now debris gets clogged in the switches, which requires workers to clear out. We can prevent that from happening by redesigning the storm water collectors and increasing the size of the drainage pipes underneath leading leading to the storm/sewer system.
We know service disruptions can be frustrating, so we thank you for your patience while we make MAX better and more reliable!