Next week, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) will be holding an open house to notify the public about the traffic impacts of this summer’s rehabilitation of the Vermont and Newbury Bridges (AKA “The Barbur Bridges”).
Traffic impacts will be serious for all road users. The speed limit will be reduced. One of the sidewalks will be closed. Cars and bikes will share one lane in each direction with little opportunity for safe passing. We encourage bicycle riders to “take the lane” on the bridges for their own safety. Thankfully, the contractor has managed to shave three months off the initial project timeline and ODOT hopes to open the work zone to bikes outside of construction hours.
Traffic impacts are to be expected as part of an extensive bridge rehab project. The
Bicycle Transportation Alliance believes that this project’s outcome fails to put safety first. We continue to call for a wider sidewalk and safe buffered bike lanes across the bridges — work that could be done in conjunction with this $3.2 million project . We are concerned that the state’s decision to spend scarce bike and pedestrian funds on automatically-activated “BIKES ON BRIDGE WHEN LIGHTS FLASH” signs is not an adequate substitute for dedicated safe space on the roadway.
If you ride Barbur regularly, please make a point of attending the upcoming open house. It will be a good opportunity to learn about the temporary traffic impacts of the bridge work and also to encourage ODOT to put safety first on the Barbur Bridges.