As the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project enters the Design Phase, County, City of Portland and TriMet leaders are getting a firsthand look at bridges maintained by Multnomah County. On Monday, Sept. 18, Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams, TriMet General Manager Sam Descue, Jr. and staff toured the Hawthorne and Burnside bridges.
Pictured from left: Transportation Division Director/County Engineer Jon Henrichsen, Strategic Initiatives Manager Taylor Steenblock, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams, Policy Advisor Hayden Miller, Community Services Director Margi Bradway, Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, TriMet General Manager Sam Descue, Jr.
The group rode to the top of the Hawthorne Bridge which dates back to 1910. They learned about how the mechanics and engineering work on the oldest vertical lift bridge in the United States.
Pictured from left: Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Millicent Williams, Portland City Commissioner Mingus Mapps, TriMet General Manager Sam Descue, Jr.
View from top of Hawthorne Bridge looking west toward downtown Portland and the new Multnomah County Courthouse.
Bridge Operations Coordinator Aysha Ghazoul talked to the group about her duties in the operator tower and the steps she has to take to lift the bridge for a vessel.
Group talking with Bridge Operations Coordinator Aysha Ghazoul in Hawthorne Bridge operator tower.
The group also toured the Burnside Bridge. Built in 1926, the Burnside Bridge is located on one of the longest and busiest streets in the Portland-metro area. Connecting two sides of the city, the Burnside serves as a critical lifeline route for emergency response. The group learned about the earthquake risks in the Pacific Northwest and the importance of building at least one downtown bridge that’s immediately usable after a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.
They went down beneath the Burnside Bridge deck and learned how the two 1900 ton concrete counterweights work to lift the bridge.
Pictured left: 1900 ton counterweight beneath the Burnside Bridge
Then the group watched the bridge lift from beneath the deck.
The tour provided a valuable opportunity for leaders to see the inner workings of County bridges, strengthen the partnership between the County Transportation Division and PBOT, and collaborate productively as the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge enters its next phase.