Big Change Coming For Drivers In NE Portland
Portland, Ore. — Starting Tuesday, May 16th, the NE 33rd Avenue Bridge will be fully closed for the final stages of repair, according to the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The bridge, which is a critical connection over NE Lombard Street, was partially closed after PBOT engineers observed cracking in the concrete in the bridge’s cross beams during an inspection following the summer 2021 heat dome.
Over the past year, PBOT crews have completed the construction of a new foundation and a temporary support structure to hold up the bridge during repairs, as shown in the photo above. In the next stage of repair, crews will jack the bridge so that it is supported by the temporary structure. This will allow the crews to demolish the cracked concrete and replace it.
PBOT engineers believe that the record-breaking temperatures during the June 2021 heatwave contributed to the cracking on the bridge support. The bridge is over 90 years old and, like much of Portland’s aging transportation infrastructure, is not resilient against climate change. The heat dome also caused streets to buckle, including sections of N Denver Avenue in the Kenton neighborhood and SE Francis Street in Creston-Kenilworth, and required the temporary shutdown of Portland Streetcar, which experienced melting power cables.
If the bridge repair work goes according to plan, PBOT will be able to fully reopen the bridge and all its ramps to people driving, walking, biking, and taking transit by mid-summer. However, the age of the bridge complicates repairs, and if crews discover additional cracking during the repairs, the work and associated detours may be extended.
Detours and a full bridge closure are required to complete this work. Detour routes will be signed during repairs, and drivers will be directed as follows: Northbound drivers on NE 33rd Avenue who wish to travel west will be detoured to Dekum Street. Northbound drivers who wish to travel east or continue north will be detoured to NE Lombard Street. Drivers on NE Columbia Boulevard who wish to go south on NE 33rd Avenue will be detoured to NE 60th Avenue.
The PBOT team recognizes that this bridge closure has significant impacts and would like to thank Portlanders for their patience with this complex repair. People riding transit can visit trimet.org/#alerts/ for the latest service impacts. This work is weather-dependent, and the schedule may change. PBOT will provide periodic updates throughout construction, and people can sign up for construction updates at www.portland.gov/ne33rdbridge.