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Sellwood Bridge

The Sellwood Bridge is a truss bridge that spans the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, in the United States. It was Portland's first fixed span bridge and, being the only river crossing for miles in each direction, is the busiest two-lane bridge in Oregon. It links the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhoods of Portland on the east side with Oregon Route 43/Macadam Avenue on the west side.

Designed by Gustav Lindenthal, the bridge opened on December 15, 1925 at a final cost of $541,000. It is 1,971 ft. long with 75 ft. of vertical waterway clearance. There are four continuous spans, the two center spans are 300 ft. long and the two outside spans are 246 ft. each. The girders from the old Burnside Bridge (built in 1894) were reused at each end. It provides a 24 foot roadway and one 4’ 3" (51 inches, 130 cm) sidewalk on the downstream side, shared with street light standards which make the sidewalk width about 3 feet (36 inches, 91 cm). Allowing for safety clearances, there is less than 2 feet (24 inches, 61 cm) usable sidewalk. The Bicycle Transportation Alliance lists the Sellwood Bridge as one of the top ten priorities for improving Portland's bicycling.


Upon discovery of cracks in both concrete approaches in January 2004, the weight limit on the bridge was lowered from 32 tons to 10 tons. This has caused the diversion of 94 daily TriMet bus trips over the bridge. At present there is debate on whether the bridge should be repaired, rebuilt, closed altogether, or closed for automotive traffic (but left open for pedestrians and bicycles). Tacoma Street, which leads east from the bridge, is classified as a district collector street.

In April 2005, Bechtel gave Multnomah County an unsolicited plan to replace the bridge through a public-private partnership.

In July 2007, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners considered several options for a replacement bridge. The current top option is a 75-foot wide bridge with two car lanes and two transit lanes, running just south of the current bridge, with a projected cost of $302 million. The Board narrowed 124 options to three in September, and is scheduled to propose a single option in spring 2008. The projected completion date for a new bridge is 2012.

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