Old Sellwood Bridge closes forever on February 25

February 24, 2016

The 90-year old Sellwood Bridge will close to traffic for the last time on Thursday, February 25 at 7 pm so a contractor can make structural alterations for the new bridge to open to traffic.  The bridge closure will allow the contractor to remove a span between the old bridge and new bridge, demolish part of the old east approach, and set up the new bridge for traffic.  The new bridge is targeted to open the first week of March.  During the closure the contractor will be working around the clock to get the new bridge ready to open.  Highway 43 will remain open to two-way traffic. 

Here are travel tips for bridge users during the closure:

  • Motor Vehicles: The posted westbound detour routes during the closure are:
    • Northbound: Hwy. 99E (McLoughlin Blvd.) to Ross Island Bridge to Hwy. 43
    • Southbound: Hwy. 99E to Interstate 205 (Abernethy Bridge at Oregon City) to Hwy. 43
    • Eastbound routes are the reverse. 

Travelers should plan their alternate route in advance and expect longer trips during the closure.

  • Bicyclists and Pedestrians: Bicyclists and pedestrians may prefer the Hawthorne Bridge for the northern detour.  The Hawthorne Bridge can be accessed from the Sellwood neighborhood by the Springwater Trail.

Out with the old…

On Thursday, February 25, fans of the old Sellwood Bridge will have one last chance to say goodbye. After the bridge closes to traffic at 7 pm, a candlelight walk will be held across the bridge from 7:30 – 8:30 pm. Participants should assemble at SE Grand Avenue off of SE Spokane St. (near the bridge's north sidewalk) and bring flashlights, electric candles, or phone lights.  Sellwood resident and former Governor Barbara Roberts will say a few words of tribute before a bagpiper leads participants on the farewell walk.  Residents can also access the bridge from the west side trail. The bridge will need to be cleared by 8:30 pm so that construction work can begin.

In with the new…

The community is invited to a celebration on the new bridge on Saturday, February 27 from noon to 4 pm.  The main entrance is at SE Tacoma and SE 6th Avenue, but residents can also access the event from the west side trail.  The main stage is at the west end of the new bridge.

An opening ceremony is from 1 pm to 1:30 pm with remarks from county and city leaders, Senator Jeff Merkley, transportation agency leaders and community members.  The program will be followed by a ribbon cutting and a “Parade of the Decades” featuring vehicles from every decade that the old Sellwood Bridge was in service.  Early arrivals will receive a Sellwood Bridge lapel pin to commemorate the day.

Food carts, retail and non-profit booths will be located on the bridge. Entertainment will be provided by the Transcendental Brass Band, LoveBomb Go-Go Marching Band, the New Iberians, School of Rock, and groups from Sellwood Middle School and Cleveland High School.

Due to limited parking, Sellwood neighbors are encouraged to walk or bike to the event.  Bicycle parking will be provided. No bike riding is permitted on the bridge, due to the large attendance. 

Event parking will be at Oaks Amusement Park, with a shuttle service to the bridge.

Presenting sponsors of the celebration are four companies that were most involved with designing, managing, and building the project: CH2M, David Evans and Associates, Inc., Slayden-Sundt Joint Venture, and T.Y. Lin International.  Support for the event was also provided by New Seasons Market, Oaks Amusement Park, Sellwood Westmoreland Business Alliance and the Sellwood Moreland Improvement League (SMILE).

Project construction is scheduled to be completed in November 2016. For information about remaining work, visit www.sellwoodbridge.org. Multnomah County is the lead agency for the project.