PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland City Council will decide on Wednesday if it will give an engineering firm an additional $2.36 million to move forward with the construction process for replacing the NE 42nd Ave. Bridge.

The Lombard Street overpass connects Northeast Portland to the Portland International Airport, serving as an important access point for thousands of workers in the city’s Airport District. However, the bridge has weight restrictions, limiting its use for freight vehicles. The bridge is also considered vulnerable to earthquakes and offers no protected pathways for pedestrians or cyclists despite being listed as one of the region’s emergency transportation routes. The city hopes to solve these issues with the existing bridge replacement project.

“The Council declares that an emergency exists because it is critical to begin construction of this project to minimize the maintenance cost and risk of the current bridge status,” the city council agenda reads.

The location of the NE 42nd Ave. Bridge. | City of Portland

The project had an initial budget of $17 million, but costs have steadily increased to more than $18 million since the initial contract with David Evans & Associates was approved in 2019. While the original agreement contracted DEA for preliminary bridge designs, the agreement did not include building costs. With the design phase complete, the city is now focusing on construction, which is anticipated to begin in April of 2023.

“DEA has completed 100% [of the] design and is very familiar with the constructability of this complex project,” the city council agenda states. “It is in the best public interest to have DEA continue with the Construction Management of the project.”

If approved, an additional $2,368,989.94 would be allocated to the bridge project. Construction is anticipated to be completed by May 31, 2025.

The project’s existing funds are allocated from the following sources: $3 million from House Bill 2017, $5.1 million from the Federal Heavy Vehicle Use Tax, $2 million from the Transportation System Development Charges, $3 million from Build Portland and $4,924,084 from the City of Portland General Fund, for a current total of $18,024,084.