Steel Bridge closed for month-long TriMet project

By Donald Orr (OPB)
Aug. 2, 2020 11:46 p.m. Updated: Aug. 3, 2020 7:03 p.m.

The Steel Bridge is closed through nearly the rest of August for what TriMet is calling the largest MAX improvement project in the light rail system’s history.

A still map of the August 2020 adjustments to the MAX system and the shuttle bus routes.

A still map of the August 2020 adjustments to the MAX system and the shuttle bus routes.



TriMet’s Steel Bridge MAX Improvements project will replace and upgrade nearly 9,000 feet of rail, signal equipment, switches and switching machines on the 108-year-old bridge. Crews will be working 24 hours a day to make upgrades to improve service.

“Ultimately the goal is to improve the resiliency of the system, the reliability of the system and to decrease the likelihood of delays and disruption in the future,” said Tyler Graf, a public information officer.

“Disruptions like this are always an inconvenience whether they’re planned or not, so we just appreciate people’s patience during this time. It allows us to do this really important work, and come back with an even better MAX system in the future.”


The Steel Bridge is closed to cars, buses and MAX trains from Aug. 2 through Aug. 29, likely causing major disruptions to TriMet service through most of the month.

The work will have “a significant impact” on riders crossing the Willamette River and will affect all MAX riders, according to TriMet.

Riders are asked to plan an extra 30 to 45 minutes for their trips or to consider other transportation. The lower portion of the bridge will remain open to pedestrians and cyclists.

Bus and MAX trains won’t cross the Steel Bridge and will be replaced with shuttle buses running between Rose Quarter Transit Center, Union Station and Old Town/Chinatown to take riders across the river during the 27 days that the bridge is closed.

Space will be limited on shuttle buses due to COVID-19 restrictions. Only 19 riders are permitted, or up to 24 to allow for accompanying family members. Masks are required on all TriMet vehicles. Children younger than 2 are exempt, as are people with certain medical conditions.

TriMet service on the Steel Bridge is expected to return on Aug. 30.

How Oregon Dungeness crab make the journey from sea to table.