Crews inspect the deck of the Tilikum Crossing bridge in late May. Construction work on the bridge will continue for several months.
The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project is progressing well. Like all of the region’s past light rail project’s, this one is on time and on budget.
You might even think we’re almost done if you travel down Lincoln Street in Downtown Portland, or over the Ross Island Bridge with a view of the new transit bridge, or past the project’s MAX station sites in Southeast Portland, Milwaukie and north Clackamas County.
But we still have much work ahead of us before the new Orange Line opens for service on September 12, 2015.
Although construction between Southwest 5th Avenue in Downtown Portland and the Tilikum Crossing in South Waterfront will be “substantially complete” in August (to use construction terminology), there is construction work remaining for the bridge and the five-mile-long portion of the project east of the Willamette River.
From a distance, Tilikum Crossing, the new transit bridge over the Willamette River, may look finished. But crews continue work installing rail, lighting, safety railings and the overhead catenary system that powers light rail trains and streetcars.
The eight new MAX stations along the segment of the project east of the river have more construction scheduled, as do the Park & Ride facilities at the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek and SE Park Ave MAX stations. And all along this segment, crews continue to install trackway and electrical systems, which include signals and overhead power.
The project is also making more than $68 million in improvements that will make it easier and safer to access MAX stations and to bike and walk nearby. For instance, crews have been constructing many bicycle and pedestrian improvements between Powell Boulevard and the Willamette River. They’ve also been busy with other infrastructure improvements in Southeast Portland—working on roadways and sidewalks along Southeast 17th Avenue, beginning work on the new Lafayette Street-Rhine Street pedestrian overcrossing, and continuing to install public art.
In Milwaukie and north Clackamas County, crews are working to complete the Kellogg Bridge over Kellogg Lake and Southeast McLoughlin Blvd/Hwy 99E while placing a new multi-use path under the bridge where it crosses the lake. Track construction also continues, as do improvements to on the Trolley Trail where that regional bicycle and pedestrian route is adjacent to the project alignment.
Crew members construct walls for the SE Park Ave Station Park & Ride, in northern Clackamas County.
And there is more work to be done once the entire 7.3-mile light rail route is substantially complete. Every TriMet light rail and bus operator—more than 1,500 women and men—must be trained to operate on the route. Light rail operators, of course, will be trained over the entire route. Bus operators will be trained on the parts of the project where buses have access—the Harbor structure that keeps the vehicles separated from traffic between Southwest Moody Avenue in South Waterfront and Naito Parkway, and on Tilikum Crossing, if current bus service planning results in the routing of any existing bus lines over the bridge.
The project has connected Portland Streetcar tracks to both ends of the bridge, which completes the CL Line loop, so all streetcar operators will also be trained in operating on the bridge.
Finally, two weeks prior to opening, as TriMet has done each time when opening a new MAX line, simulated revenue service will start. During this time, trains will operate for 14 days on the new line as if in service, but without accepting passengers. This process tests all of the systems and signals along the route to ensure they are working on opening day and allows everyone to be well-rehearsed prior to opening the light rail line.
Construction continues at all of the eight new MAX stations east of the Willamette River. Above is the SE Tacoma St/Johnson Creek MAX Station and Park & Ride in SE Portland.
As construction and operator training continue over the next 15 months, you can follow the project’s progress with videos, photos and construction updates by “liking” the project page on Facebook. We’re also on Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube.
We’re looking forward to seeing you on opening day—September 12, 2015!