Sellwood Bridge ramp to close permanently

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Drivers in Southwest Portland area can expect a longer commute when a Sellwood Bridge off-ramp closes permanently Tuesday for construction of a new Highway 43 interchange.

A diagram of the traffic changes that will begin Sept. 3, 2013, when construction on a new interchange closes the off-ramp from the Sellwood Bridge to Highway 43 southbound. (Multnomah County)
A diagram of the traffic changes that will take place beginning Sept. 3, 2013, due to construction of the new Highway 43 interchange.                  (Multnomah County)

Beginning Tuesday at 6 a.m., the ramp from the bridge to Highway 43 southbound will shut down. Drivers will have to travel north to a new turnaround at Southwest Taylors Ferry Road in order to access Highway 43 south.

Rush hour commuters can expect delays, and may want to consider other routes, Multnomah County said in a news release last week. It will remain closed until the new interchange and bridge are complete in 2015.

Meanwhile, bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to use a narrow path along the closed ramp in order to access the River View Cemetery.

Beginning in November, the northbound slip lane of Highway 43 that passes under the bridge will also close permanently, and all interchange traffic will run through a temporary signal.

The new interchange is part of a project to replace the aging 87-year-old Sellwood Bridge. In January, a temporary detour bridge was put in place just north of the old bridge. That will be used until 2015, when construction of a new bridge on the current alignment of the old one is expected to be complete.

The total cost to replace the bridge and renovate the interchange has been estimated at $307 million.

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Faris Tanyos

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