(Sept. 13, 2021) Today, Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty cut the ribbon to open Rivergate Overcrossing which elevates North Rivergate Boulevard over railroad tracks to eliminate a major bottleneck that regularly snarled freight and business traffic. In celebrating this major new addition to Portland's freight network, she was joined by Chris Warner, Director of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Curtis Robinhold, Executive Director of the Port of Portland, and Corky Collier, President of the Columbia Corridor Association.
The new bridge dramatically improves access to the Port of Portland's Terminal 5. The second largest export gateway on the West Coast, the port serves 11 states in the Pacific Northwest and upper Midwest.
Removing conflict between railroad and freight traffic, the bridge makes it easier to access the dozens of manufacturers and warehouses located in the Rivergate Industrial District. Before the completion of the bridge, freight and other traffic would often be disrupted for hours by Union Pacific and BNSF trains crossing Rivergate Boulevard. Backups could extend to North Lombard Street and North Columbia Boulevard, slowing commercial activity along these important corridors as well.
Together the Port of Portland and the Rivergate Industrial District represent one of the region's most important economic engines, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and driving hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity.
With its new sidewalks and bike lanes, the project improves safety for people biking and walking in the area.
The bridge will also support Portland's climate goals. Locomotives, diesel trucks and other vehicles will spend less time idling during railroad crossings and train staging.
“I’m glad the delegation’s teamwork to help unsnarl this traffic bottleneck has succeeded for North Portland businesses that generate jobs throughout the region,” Senator Ron Wyden said. “Federal investments in on-the-ground local projects just like this one are essential to keep the economy humming and to reduce exhaust pollution from trucks no longer idling at the Rivergate Overcrossing.”
“Oregon’s economy is strongest when our infrastructure needs are met, which means making key investments in roads and bridges that will prove safe and sustainable for all Oregonians,” said Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley. “When I voted yes on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I had projects like the Rivergate Overcrossing on my mind. I’ll continue to use my seat on the Senate Appropriations Committee to fight for resources, like this grant, that will help create jobs, modernize Oregon’s infrastructure, and tackle the critical issue of climate chaos.”
"Rivergate Overcrossing is transportation infrastructure done right, " said Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. "Thanks to this investment, we're lowering congestion, delivering a safer, better transportation system and contributing to a more dynamic, greener freight sector and regional economy."
"Moving freight efficiently and sustainably is a key to a more prosperous and greener Portland," said Transportation Director Chris Warner. "This new bridge brings us closer to that future."
“This project is an example of governments coming together to enable more small businesses, manufacturers and farmers to have access to new markets,” said Executive Director of the Port of Portland, Curtis Robinhold.”
"This project has tremendous value to the middle wage employees who now have reliable access, to pedestrians and people on bikes, and to the truck drivers who had to burn fuel while waiting for trains to move," said Corky Collier, Executive Director of the Columbia Corridor Association. "The freight community was happy to be a partner on this project and very grateful to see it cross the finish line."
The $23.5 million bridge was partially funded by a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant received by the Port of Portland. This is only the second time a project in the city of Portland has received TIGER funding. The bridge also received funding from Metro, the Port of Portland, the Oregon Department of Transportation and City of Portland System Development Charges.
Rivergate Overcrossing joins N. Leadbetter and South Rivergate Overcrossings as the latest bridge project and successful public agency partnership to reduce traffic congestion and conflict between rail and vehicle traffic in Rivergate.