PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Two lanes on the Burnside Bridge will close starting this month.
Those lanes will stay closed for a long stretch, all the way through 2019. A contractor will repair pavement, sidewalks and railings on the bridge.
It all starts with a full closure of the Burnside Bridge from 11 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5 to 5 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 8. When the bridge reopens to traffic on Jan. 8, the lane restrictions will be in place. One westbound lane and two eastbound lanes will remain open. There will be a reduced speed limit of 25 mph in place.
Since the bridge is going from 5 lanes to 3, the people behind the project suggest commuters plan for a new route.
“I think that the public will notice the congestion will be worst on Burnside Bridge for the next 2 years,” Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesman said. “Fortunately, the Morrison Bridge has all the 6 lanes back up and the Steel and Broadway Bridge are great alternative routes.”
Commuters should also expect some temporary lane closures along Naito Parkway under the bridge as crews repair the underside of the bridge.
All of the repairs are part of the $19 million Burnside Bridge Maintenance Project and are expected to extend the life of the bridge another 15 to 20 years.
Kelly Gasaway, who just recovered from the Morrison Bridge construction, commutes across the Burnside Bridge almost daily.
“If it’s for the better than sure, we just kind of had to reroute everything because of the Morrison, it looks like we will have to do the same thing with this now,” Gasaway said.
Fortunately, Pullen said the construction won’t be nearly as bad as the Morrison construction.
Multnomah County is also developing a long-term plan to ensure that the Burnside Bridge can withstand a major earthquake, since it is part of a regional lifeline route. The 2017-2019 repairs are for maintenance, and will not improve the bridge’s performance in an earthquake.KOIN 6 News Reporter Joseph Dames contributed to this report