ODOT Revises St. Johns Bridge Detour for Walking and Biking

Photo: Flickr / p medved

Photo: Flickr/p medved

We just got great news from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)!

In response to input from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and others, they have revised the work zone plan for a St Johns Bridge maintenance project that, as of this morning, threatened to route all bike and pedestrian traffic 14 miles down to the Broadway Bridge and back for three weeks between 8pm and 5am.

The project — retensioning the bridge’s cables — is something new for ODOT and its newness, according to Transit and Active Transportation Liaison Jessica Horning, resulted in a “worst case scenario” for the detour. They weren’t sure what, exactly, the project would entail and, as a result, they sought to eliminate all traffic from the bridge.

That choice, to advise that people walking and biking simply “use the Broadway Bridge,” should not have been taken lightly. That’s a 14 mile detour. Thankfully, the BTA, with help from local transportation consultant Todd Boulanger, was able to work with Horning and ODOT to reach a better, more equitable solution. The new plan will likely involve a narrow coned-off path, flaggers, and a wait of no longer than 10 minutes.

We are grateful to have partners at ODOT who recognize that a 14 mile detour for people walking and biking should not be taken lightly. It is our hope that “worst case scenario” detours like the one announced yesterday can be avoided in the future. We have recently recruited a new intern, Ruben Montes, who will be working with our advocacy team and Todd Boulanger to better understand and, ultimately, improve the quality of work zone detour plans in the Portland-Metro region.

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