Steel Bridge Used By Thousands of Pedestrians and Traffic in Portland

The Steel Bridge, located in Portland, Oregon, is a double lift bridge that crosses the Willamette River.  The double lift is unique; the top part carries road traffic and light rail, while the bottom steel walkway is for pedestrian traffic.  The bridge’s design is distinctive in the fact that it was originally built in 1888 using steel, when most bridges of the time were crafted out of wrought iron.  Over the years it has gone through many renovations,

The current Steel Bridge has been used by thousands of people since it opened in 1912.  It has had many renovations in the last 100 years to accommodate the increase in car and pedestrian foot traffic; including one in 2001 to expand the number of pedestrian steel walkways to three. The bridge is owned by Union Pacific with the City of Portland being responsible for the approaches.  The upper deck is leased to Oregon Department of Transportation, and subleased to TriMet.  This bridge, with its steel walkway below and road traffic above, is one of the most unique in the world.  It is a multimodal bridge and it is the only double deck bridge with independent lifts in existence.

The lift span is 211 feet long and has 10 counterweights to balance it.  There are two for the upper decks and eight for the lower steel walkway.  The lifts are independent of each other, which means the lower steel walkway can be raised into the upper deck without disturbing it.  The machinery house is suspended over the bridge, which allows the operator to view the river traffic, as well as the upper deck.  People use the Steel Bridge every day for walking, riding bikes, and commuting.  In 2000, the average daily traffic was over 23,000 vehicles, 200 MAX trains, 40 freight and Amtrak trains, and 500 bicycles.  With the addition of the latest steel walkway in 2001, the number of bicycles crossing the bridge increased to 2,100 a day.

Safety is important for the pedestrians and road traffic that use this bridge daily.  SLIPNOT Metal Safety Flooring provides slip resistance products bridges nationwide and the non-slip products are especially important on bridges that can experience major floods.  The Steel Bridge’s lower steel walkway was threatened by major floods in 1948, 1964 and 1996.  SLIPNOT plates, grating, expanded metal, and perforated plate retain their slip resistance even when completely submerged in water.  Bridges like the Steel Bridge can benefit from SLIPNOT non-slip products.

Steel Bridge- Wikipedia


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