Right now, none of downtown Portland’s Willamette River vehicular bridges will be immediately usable after a major earthquake. Multnomah County is leading an effort to replace the current Burnside Bridge with one that can withstand a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake. It’s one of the largest earthquake resilience projects in Oregon.

The Burnside Bridge is located on a regionally established lifeline route and it's critical that the bridge is still standing after a major earthquake. A new Burnside Bridge will provide a critical lifeline route for first responders to get to those who need help after a major earthquake. It will be our beacon for safety, emergency response and recovery. It will also be the bridge our community sees at the heart of Portland, serving our broader community for the next 100 years. In addition, the new bridge will provide safer, more accessible multimodal transportation facilities.


The Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project began in 2016 with a Feasibility Study Phase that lasted two years. During this phase, the project team studied more than 100 options including tunnels, ferries, double-deck bridges and other bridge options. From that study, four bridge alternatives were recommended for further evaluation in the Environmental Review Phase (2019-2022). After a robust environmental analysis of the four alternatives, and with input from the community, agencies and regulatory bodies, the Replacement Long-Span was selected as the Preferred Alternative.

Design Phase

The project is now in the Design Phase. This is a detailed process that includes looking at bridge form, architectural and aesthetic features, mechanical and structural components, constructability issues, costs and long-term maintenance needs.The project team will work closely with engineers, architects, contractors, agencies and regulatory bodies during this phase.

The Design Phase also includes robust public outreach. The community will be providing important and valuable feedback that will help the project team make decisions that will result in final design plans for the bridge. After those design plans are complete, the project can move into construction. 

Project Area

The Burnside Bridge crosses over the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon’s largest city. It is also located along a regionally designated Emergency Transportation Route, as established by Metro’s Regional Emergency Management Group. The bridge crosses important transportation infrastructure in Portland, including the I-5 mainline and I-84 ramps, Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) freight rail tracks, TriMet MAX light rail tracks, Waterfront Park, Naito Parkway, and the Eastbank Esplanade. Portland Fire and Rescue Station #1 is less than half a mile from the bridge and will depend on its immediate use following a major earthquake. 


Questions or Comments?

Please use this form to contact the project team with any questions or comments or to sign up for project updates.