February 9, 2024

Multnomah County is pleased to announce, on Friday, Feb. 9, the Federal Highway Administration published in the Federal Register its Record of Decision for the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project. This document is federally required for projects using federal funds and gives the project approval to move forward. The Federal Highway Administration reviewed the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, before it issued a Record of Decision. The Record of Decision marks the end of the project’s Environmental Review Phase. 

“This is an important step for the project as we head into the Design Phase,” said Megan Neill, Multnomah County Design Phase Project Manager. “We are excited for what’s to come this year as we ask for community input on important design decisions that will influence the future of the bridge.”   

The Environmental Review Phase from 2019 to 2023 served an important role in project planning. During this phase, the project team evaluated a range of alternatives that addressed the purpose and need, screened alternatives against a set of evaluation criteria and selected one alternative to advance into the Design Phase. This evaluation process is required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), a federal law enacted in 1970 to ensure that key decisions about transportation projects take into account impacts to people, places and the environment. 

Design Phase Begins

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. After design plans are complete, the project can move into construction, which could start as early as 2027.

Community Input

The Burnside Bridge sits at the heart of Portland and the County understands the community has a deep connection to this bridge. This project values the community’s voice and wants to make sure it reflects the community’s vision. This year, the project will ask the community for important feedback on the future look of the bridge. There will be several opportunities to weigh in on bridge aesthetics. Stay tuned for future announcements. 

In addition to broader community input, the Community Design Advisory Group will also serve an important role in providing feedback. The Community Design Advisory Group is made up of community members who represent a range of interests and backgrounds from the broader community. The group will provide input to the project team on bridge aesthetics including structure type, lighting, railing types and concrete finishes on the bridge.    

For more information on the project, visit: https://www.multco.us/earthquake-ready-burnside-bridge