Sellwood Bridge on track for Fall 2016 completion

May 13, 2016

An aerial view of the Sellwood Bridge interchange with Highway 43

Project leaders told the Board of County Commissioners Thursday that the Sellwood Bridge Project is on track to be completed this November.

“We are 90% complete with construction,” Program Manager Ian Cannon told the board.

Cannon showed commissioners an aerial photograph to convey the large size of the current work zone. “It’s a sprawling project,” he said.  Although the new bridge opened in February, crews are completing project elements from a new traffic signal on the east side to a new entrance to River View Cemetery and a new regional trail on the west side.

“The regional trail between the bridge and SW Miles Place will open this summer,” Cannon explained. Earlier in the week, the second through lane of Highway 43 opened on the lower level of a new interchange with the bridge. “If you’re traveling from Lake Oswego to downtown Portland, you no longer have to drive through the traffic signal at the bridge,” Cannon said.

The next big traffic change comes in August, when westbound bridge traffic can finally turn left to reach southbound Highway 43.  “That will be a big deal,” agreed County Chair Deborah Kafoury. For several years while the interchange was being built, drivers have had to travel north and turn around at Taylors Ferry Road.

Cannon provided an update on deconstruction of the detour bridge which closed in February. The structure includes the green steel truss spans from the original Sellwood Bridge. “The concrete deck and sidewalk will be removed by the end of this week.  By the end of May, we expect to lower the first truss span down to a barge to take it away and be recycled.”  Concrete from the detour bridge is also recycled.

Cannon said the Sellwood Bridge will be closed to all traffic on Friday, May 20 to allow the contractor to safely install long concrete girders for the north half of the east approach to the bridge.  This part of the bridge could not be built until the old bridge closed in February.

Sellwood Bridge project manager Ian Cannon (left) and Owner’s representative Mike Baker update the board.

Owner’s representative Mike Baker, with David Evans and Associates, provided the board with the most recent statistics for workforce and contracting diversity goals. “Our general contractor has 243 subcontracts on this project,” he explained. “A little more than half of those -- 123 -- are contracts with Disadvantaged Minority, Women and Emerging Small Businesses,” Baker said. “That accounts for $45 million in contracting, which is a pretty impressive number.” Baker said the Slayden Sundt Joint Venture is confident they will reach their goal of awarding 20% of contract dollars to Disadvantaged Minority Women and Emerging Small Business firms.

Baker also reported on progress in meeting goals to employ a diverse workforce.“Twenty-eight percent of total work hours have been by apprentices and journey workers who are minorities,” he said.“That surpasses our 20% minority workforce goal.” The project has nearly reached its 14% goal for women in the construction workforce, Baker said. “And a diverse pool of apprentices is gaining experience through our project to build careers that will provide good wages.” Baker said that as of February, 261 apprentices had worked 112,000 hours on the project.  

For project information, visit