Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Steel Bridge

This has to be one of the coolest bridges on the West Coast. It is the Steel Bridge that crosses the Willamette River in Portland, OR. There are a few reasons why this bridge is so amazing.

First, it was built in 1912 in is still heavily used today. Unlike our 100+-year-old New Westminster Rail Bridge, this structure is double-tracked and does not have the deadly corners like our rail bridge. Secondly, this bridge is a amazing example of how private and public interests can work together. The bridge is owned by Union Pacific Railroad, with the lower deck reserved for heavy rail. There is also a multiuse path on the lower deck that is a key link for Portland's active transportation network. The top deck is leased to the Oregon Department of Transportation, who in turn sub-leases a part to TriMet. What this mean is that the bridge is used by Portland's light rail system, road network, cycle network, and pedestrian network. It is a true multi-modal wonder! Also, the lower deck can be lifted independent of the upper deck. I wonder why we have never seen anything like this in BC?

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