18 September 2017

[pdx] The Sellwood Bridge, A Little More Than A Year On

Back about a year and a half ago, me and The Wife™ were just two of thousands who watched the new Sellwood Bridge being dedicated. The bridge, completed in February of 2016, replaced an old structure that had spanned the Willamette between Sellwood and the southern end of SW Macadam Avenue since the year 1925. It was renowned as the single most dangerous bridge to be on; traffic weight limits were much reduced and not even TriMet ran across it any more.

This last weekend, we went out to see how the new span was doing. I've got more pictures to come; but not enough time to extemporize for the moment. For now, though, this beauty shot of a bridge whose new aspect has grown on me significantly.

Sellwood Bridge, big, bright, and bold.

More to come.


Alan said...

I love bridges and I love the new Sellwood. But somehow, bridges with no "superstructure" remind me too much of freeway overpasses. They don't really seem to be bridges. Probably has to do with all the old steel Texas highway bridges I rode and drove over as a kid. Also, the Conde McCullough-designed bridges here in Oregon, the best of which feature soaring steel arches.

Samuel Klein said...

I hear you. I saw some of the design proposals; I was originally disappointed that they went with this, since there were some nifty designs, including a through-arch option that echoed the Fremont.

I've fallen in love with this design though. The big graceful arches supporting the deck are lovely without being ostentatious, and the Sellwood was never a glamour-puss, just a good-old working-class bridge with a sense of style to it. It's won me over.

When I read your 'freeway overpasses' remark, I had a sense of resonance. I thought of the I-5 bridge over the Willamette at Wilsonville, which is called the Boone Bridge because it replaces Boone's Ferry, and it's just this functional, absolutely-no-frills-whatsoever, Oregon-style highway bridge. I sometimes think what they could put there. That's a metropolitan gateway point, and it could really make a signature statement if they did something remarkable there.

Alan said...

Or consider the I205 bridge over the Columbia (the Glenn Jackson Bridge) -- a couple of miles of elevated freeway. No style. It doesn't even offer a good view of the river or the islands it crosses. Contrast that with the Astoria-Megler Bridge or the Newport Bay Bridge.

Alan said...

Have you noticed the tricks the Sellwood Bridge plays with perspective? Going East, the bridge appears to narrow almost normally, although actually, the perspective narrows more than expected. Going West, the perspective seems to narrow much less than expected.

Samuel Klein said...

As a matter of fact, I have. Reminds me rather of the way the landscaping on Airport Way conspires to slow you down as you approach the terminal, with greenery that's spaced closer together as you go.