(March 11, 2020) – Construction is underway on a new overcrossing in North Portland. The North Rivergate Boulevard Overcrossing will be a new bridge that elevates North Rivergate Boulevard over the Union Pacific and BNSF railroad tracks. This $25.8 million project, funded with federal, state, and local dollars, will support the Port of Portland, Portland’s international export gateway, which serves 11 states in the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest and is the second largest export gateway on the West Coast. It will also alleviate traffic congestion associated with rail blockages for Rivergate Industrial District businesses.
Beginning on Monday, March 16, North Rivergate Boulevard will be closed from North Lombard Street to North Time Oil Road. Traffic will be detoured from North Burgard Road to North Time Oil Road for the duration of the closure. The closure and detour are expected to be in place for approximately one year. Local access will be maintained to the properties with driveways within the North Rivergate Boulevard closure area, using new access roads constructed for use during the overcrossing’s construction.
The Port of Portland’s export activity at Terminal 5 and a multitude of industrial, manufacturing, and warehousing businesses are primarily located in the Rivergate Industrial District, which relies on North Rivergate Boulevard as a critical transportation corridor for vehicles entering the area. In its current condition, North Rivergate Boulevard poses some significant problems for this industrial district. Trains that cross North Rivergate Boulevard frequently cause long delays for vehicle traffic. The resulting traffic congestion can extend to North Lombard Street and North Columbia Boulevard and can last up to four hours per day, severely limiting access to 100 businesses. This affects travel time for freight deliveries, commuters and emergency vehicles, posing safety issues and economic costs.
The new overcrossing offers many benefits. First, it will reduce travel time and costs for freight and employees by creating a free flow of traffic using the overcrossing. Further, emergency vehicles will be able to quickly enter this area and respond to emergencies without being impeded by traffic congestion. Additionally, in accordance with the City of Portland’s climate goals, locomotives, diesel trucks and other motor vehicles will spend less time idling during railroad crossings and train staging, which will reduce harmful emissions.
This project is partially funded by a U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant, received by the Port of Portland in 2016. The project also received funding from Metro, the Port of Portland, Oregon Department of Transportation, and City of Portland Transportation System Development Charges. The total project cost is $25.8 million.
This project’s anticipated completion date is Spring 2021. To find a more detailed schedule click here to visit the project’s webpage.