Bridges and Structures

Sauvie Island Bridge

Location: Portland, Oregon

At nearly 60 years old, the Sauvie Island Bridge in Portland, Oregon, was closing in on the end of its useful life. Major cracks were discovered in 2001. An in-depth inspection and analysis revealed that the sufficiency rating for the bridge was the lowest in Oregon. The bridge was subsequently load posted, and emergency repairs were made for the bridge to continue to serve the island’s 1,300 residents. The bridge currently carries about 4,000 vehicles a day and provides the only vehicular access to the island.

DEA was selected by Multnomah County to be the prime consultant for the initial siting study through final design, bidding, and construction to replace this historic structure. The existing bridge was 1,200 feet long, had three 200-foot-long steel trusses, and two concrete girder approach structures. The new bridge is a steel, tied-through arch that is constructed of weathering steel with concrete approach spans. The weathering steel will minimize life cycle costs.

The project involved assessing more than 18 structure alternatives and developing an alternative screening system to support a sound decision-making process. Key to the success of the project was using a public involvement strategy that developed consensus regarding the location and type of bridge. The DEA team worked closely with a national bridge architecture firm and a citizen's advisory committee to determine the look of many of the bridge elements to ensure that the structure expressed the community’s values. Partnering was used during the design phase to expedite buy-in and support of the key agencies critical to the project.

Project Awards

  • 2009 Grand Award, ACEC Oregon

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