|The Steel Bridge looking southwest from Rose Quarter Transit Center|
Why Bridgetown? Simple: as you probably know by now, Portland is divided into east & west sides by the Willamette River. As a result, counting the Burlington Northern Railway Bridge, there 11 bridges spanning the Willamette between the eastern & western sides. In addition (again counting another Burlington Northern Bridge) there are three bridges crossing the Columbia river between Portland & Washington state.
|A Green Line Max train heading east-all Max lines cross the Steel Bridge|
So I’ve been across the bridge quite a few times either by train or bus; but I also knew the bridge has sidewalks for pedestrians & cyclists, so on Friday afternoon—a truly gorgeous spring day here—I decided I’d head out on an adventure the next day to walk the bridge & take photos for this post.
|A zoomed in shot of Northwest Portland from the Bridge-note Union Station Tower|
|Zoom view of the Broadway Bridge & the Fremont Bridge-looking north|
Of course, we know about the best laid plans of mice & men: Saturday started out gray & rainy—but the hourly forecast told me there should be a window of relatively better weather in early afternoon, so I headed out. My plan was to head to the Overlook neighborhood & take the Yellow line Max train from Overlook Park station to the Rose Quarter Transit center, & then hike across.
|Steel Bridge looking north & east|
Facts & figures on the Steel Bridge, in digested form (thanks, Wikipedia!):
The Steel Bridge is a through truss, double lift bridge…. the only double-deck bridge with independent lifts in the world and the second oldest vertical-lift bridge in North America, after the nearby Hawthorne Bridge.
The bridge was completed in 1912…. Its name originated because steel, instead of wrought iron, was used in its construction, very unusual for the time [actually the current bridge, constructed in 1912, took its name from the 19th century bridge it replaced.]
The lift span of the bridge is 211-foot long. At low river levels the lower deck is 26 feet above the water, & 163 feet of vertical clearance is provided when both are raised. Because of the independent lifts, the lower deck can be raised to 72 feet, telescoping into the upper deck but not disturbing it. Each deck has it own counterweights, two for the upper & eight for the lower, totaling 9,000,000 lb.
|Waterfront Park to the right, the Burnside Bridge, Southeast Portland (left) looking south-note raindrop smudge!|
The Bridgetown feature will continue as part of the Rose City Wednesday series at (I think) irregular intervals. Not all of the bridges are “walkable” (& if you’ve seen the Fremont & St John’s Bridges, you know that’s a good thing), but as much as is feasible I’ll try to make expeditions across the ones that are open to pedestrians to get “up close & personal” photos. However, I think I’ll wait until a much more dry day for the next bridge excursion!