Finishing touches are just about done at the new Sellwood Bridge
At the Sellwood Bridge Project offices at the east end of the bridge, the rows of empty cubicles made it clear that this project is drawing to a close.
"They'll be breaking down and moving the portable office building soon," commented Multnomah County project spokesman Mike Pullen said as he arrived, meeting THE BEE for perhaps our last full "tour" of the project on November 18.
The old bridge span and piers have disappeared, as have the work bridges, cranes, and much of the construction equipment.
As we walked out to S.E. Tacoma Street, Pullen told us that the Portland Bureau of Transportation was already making changes to the new traffic control signal at S.E. 6th Avenue, to help promote better traffic flow.
"The traffic signal phases for north and south-bound movements on 6th Avenue will be combined, to improve traffic flow for east-west traffic on Tacoma Street," Pullen said. New signs are being installed to prevent 'right turns on red' for westbound traffic on Tacoma, and for northbound traffic on 6th".
The 14-foot-high public art sculptures, that installation that artist Mikyoung Kim entitled "Stratum", have been installed on both sides of the bridge. "They still need to install the colored bronze panels," Pullen remarked.
Parking on lower Spokane Street has been reopened west of Oaks Park Way, after paving work to cover a rainwater outfall pipe was completed; and the Springwater Corridor Trail has been reopened between S.E. Spokane and Umatilla Streets.
"We expect that, by the time BEE readers see this, the north bridge sidewalk will have reopened, after the painting work below the bridge was completed; and the south sidewalk will be opened to the public by then, too," Pullen said.
In the former construction zone below the east end of the bridge, the heavy equipment was gone. However the area was still bustling between Sellwood Harbor and Riverpark Condominiums, as workers were busy installing landscaping and fencing.
"The budget is still at $325 million, putting this long project only about 5% above the originally-estimated $307.5 million, and only exceeding the original estimate by a little less than $20 million," Pullen said, with a sense of accomplishment.