Multnomah County is pleased to announce the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project is a recipient of a $5 million Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability & Equity (RAISE) Grant.
“We are excited to receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation," Project Manager Megan Neill said. "It indicates the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project is on the right track and aligns with many of the goals identified in the Biden infrastructure package, which includes resiliency, equity and climate change. The $5 million in federal funding will go towards advancing the Design Phase of the project which we anticipate starting in early 2023.”
This marks the project’s first successful funding award, after Multnomah County applied for the grant in April, 2022.
“A major earthquake could hit at any time, and our region will be torn apart if we don't have bridges that can withstand such a disaster,” Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson said “Connecting downtown Portland to the east side is vital for saving lives, helping the injured, reuniting families and our longer recovery. We must hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. The funding we received through the RAISE Grant is an important acknowledgement of how critical this project is. Portland is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country, and a disaster here will have national implications. That's why we will continue to ask for local, regional, state and federal investments for this lifeline bridge.”
It’s a project that has support from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, U.S. Senator Jeffrey Merkley, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-Beaverton). They submitted a joint letter of support for the project.
“Maintaining reliable transportation across the Willamette River if an earthquake strikes Portland is essential to the safety of lives and livelihoods in my hometown and statewide,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “I’m gratified this much-needed federal investment in the Burnside Bridge is en route to ensure this vital bridge stands well-equipped to survive the impact of a major quake.”
“Having a safe, earthquake ready bridge crossing to downtown Portland in the event of a natural disaster will benefit not just Portland, but the entire state,” Congressman Earl Blumenauer said. “The Burnside Bridge replacement is a critical infrastructure upgrade that makes the region more resilient and safer, while helping to reignite Portland’s reputation as one of the country’s most livable communities.”
“We’ve known for years that our region is overdue for a large earthquake, which is why we must build safe, seismically resilient infrastructure. The Burnside Bridge replacement will keep this key transportation link standing in the event of a natural disaster, and I am grateful that federal funding will support this important project,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said.
“Portland is called Bridgetown for a reason, and we have to do all we can to make sure our bridges are able to face a major earthquake,” Senator Jeff Merkley said. “The Burnside Bridge offers a direct connection to downtown Portland for emergency personnel, business goers, and day trippers alike. This bridge is a key piece of infrastructure for many Oregon businesses, communities, and everyday commuters. I’m grateful this funding is headed to replace this aging bridge—as the new bridge will ensure Oregonians and visitors alike will have safe, earthquake-resilient access on this critical crossing.”
The cost of the project is $895 million and Multnomah County has identified $300 million to contribute to the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project through its vehicle registration fee. The project is actively seeking funding opportunities to fill a $500-$600 million funding gap for construction. This spring and summer, Multnomah County applied for two larger federal grants for the construction phase. Multnomah County should hear back on those funding requests in the fall and winter, respectively.Multnomah County maintains the Burnside Bridge and leads the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project. The Environmental Review Phase will be completed late this year. Design work will begin spring 2023 and construction could begin as early as 2025, pending funding. For more information, or to sign up for email notifications, visit www.burnsidebridge.org.