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News Blog: Introducing Sullivan’s Crossing, a new biking and walking bridge over I-84

sullivan's crossing illustration

An illustration of the "Stretch" bridge design option for Sullivan's Crossing facing west over I-84.

By David Backes, Portland Bureau of Transportation

(Dec. 1, 2017) In 2021, a new bridge will reach across I-84, connecting the Lloyd District with the Central Eastside Industrial District. Sullivan’s Crossing (as it’s called now) will allow people to stroll and roll separate from motor vehicle traffic, all while taking in stunning views of downtown Portland. In the event of a major earthquake, Sullivan’s Crossing’s robust engineering will also allow it to remain functional and provide access for emergency vehicles.

This stress-free biking and walking route between the two growing districts provides a much-needed connection across the natural barrier of Sullivan’s Gulch and human-made barriers below, I-84 and the Union Pacific Railroad. Today, people driving between the two districts have several nearby options (Grand, MLK, 12th Avenue), but safe, comfortable options for people biking and walking are limited. Sullivan’s Crossing bridges that gap, while also completing a key link in the Green Loop.

Green Loop map

Determining the south landing location – 7th or 8th Avenue

The north side landing of Sullivan’s Crossing is NE 7th Avenue, due to its existing bike lanes and through connection to NE Lloyd Boulevard. On the south side, the bridge will either land at NE 8th Avenue & NE Glisan Street (Alignment 1) or NE 7th Ave & NE Flanders Street (Alignment 2). Both alignment alternatives have been studied, and both have advantages and tradeoffs—see below for a high-level overview (and for a more detailed look download the full report here).

The final alignment decision will be made in December, following further analysis, conversations with stakeholders, and feedback received at the open house.

Sullivan's Crossing alignment options

NE 8th Avenue Alignment Snapshot

  • Shorter span is less expensive to build (+)
  • PBOT would need to acquire right of way (-)
  • Sightlines of the bridge from the south side are not as continuous as with 7th (-)

NE 7th Avenue Alignment Snapshot

  • Longer span is more expensive to build (-)
  • PBOT owns more right of way here and would not need to acquire property (+)
  • Likely better sightlines of the bridge from the south side (+)

Exploring different bridge types

It isn’t possible to fully vet bridge types until an alignment alternative has been selected, but preliminary assessment of bridge types has already begun. In 2016, PBOT worked with consultants to prepare an alternatives analysis of different bridge types and alignments. From this analysis, one preferred bridge type emerged, which is now being compared to additional options.

Models of these bridge types are shown below as conceptual examples of what the new crossing might look like.

Join us at the open house to see the models and learn more about the project on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 from 4:00 – 6:30 p.m. (drop in anytime) at Oregon Metro, 2nd floor lobby (600 NE Grand Ave, 97232). We’ll have snacks. Click here to RSVP to the event on Facebook.

Here are the bridge designs being considered for Sullivan’s Crossing (all designs are looking eastbound up I-84, away from downtown Portland):

1. “Stretch” expresses the asymmetry of the site by taking advantage of the embankment on the north side of the alignment:



2.  “Skip,” developed during phase one of the project, appears to lightly skip across Sullivan’s Gulch:



3. “Reach” is iconic in its tower expression, serving as a gateway marker for both entering and leaving the City of Portland:



4. “Leap” takes advantage of the ability to anchor into the northern embankment to create an expressive truss structure that seems to spring from the ground:



5. “Weave” creates an iconic structural expression that weaves together the deck and girders to create an integrated fluid form.



Stay up to date

Visit the Sullivan's Crossing project website

Join us at the open house on Tuesday, December 5th, 4:00 - 6:30 p.m. at Metro. Click here for details.