First major non-automobile bridge in U.S. history
The new light rail transit bridge over the Willamette River will be the first bridge of its kind in the United States because it will include light rail, buses and pedestrians, but no private automobiles. The bridge will span the river with unique steel girders shaped like waves that reflect the structural moment diagram and flow of forces. With a main span of 207 meters the bridge is low in profile and elegant. The design fits perfectly the site because its location next to other existing bridges requires an appearance that is not only unique but also compatible with the adjacent truss and arch bridges.
This new type of structure has never been used before in the history of bridge design. Each of the wave frames will have a height of 15m above the deck creating a harmonious ensemble with the area’s hilly topography and environs. With a required clearance of 23m above the river the bridge superstructure is thin and streamlined due to its structural configuration supported from above the deck.
The sinuous structure appears to float over the water with its elegant geometry and light appearance. The new light rail will become a new symbol of the City of Portland, a community widely recognised for their commitment to sustainability and green design.