Leaders meet in middle on Tilikum Crossing

Civic leaders met in the middle of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
Civic leaders met in the middle of the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Leaders from Portland and Milwaukie met in the middle on the first new bridge over the Willamette River in 40 years.

The Tilikum Crossing bridge will go from PSU to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North Clackamas County when it’s complete. It’s the first-of-its-kind bridge to carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and eventually the streetcar, but no private vehicles.

The officials who walked the bridge and met in the middle were:

The mayors of Portland, Milwaukie and Oregon City, Charlie Hales, Jeremy Ferguson and Doug Neeley, respectively; Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici; Secretary of State Kate Brown; Clackamas County Commissioner Jim Barnard; Metro Councilor Carlotta Collette; ODOT Region 1 Manager Jason Tell and TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane.

A view from the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)
A view from the Tilikum Crossing Bridge, June 6, 2014 (KOIN 6 News)

The ceremonial connection on Friday is a significant step for the Portland-to-Milwaukie bridge.

TriMet’s McFarlane said this bridge puts more emphasis on mass transit.

“It doesn’t ignore (drivers). It puts more on light rail and off the road,” he said.

Officials said more than 10,500 jobs — direct and indirect — are connected to the bridge.

For engineer Chris Aguon, working on this bridge is more than just a job.

“Being a bridge geek who lives here and workng on a project that should last another 100 years, I am very prideful about it,” he said.

The $1.49 billion project is on time and on budget, officials said, and is set to open in September 2015. At that time, TriMet will expand to 60 miles and 97 stations.

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