The Red Electric Bridge, a part of the Red Electric Trail is now completed and ready for use. The Red Electric Bridge, located in Southwest Portland between SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and SW Capitol Highway, provides pedestrians and people biking with a direct, car-free link to these main streets through a forested gulch.
The bridge was developed, designed, and constructed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) on behalf of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) and is a critical segment of the Red Electric Trail system. “We are grateful to our partners at PBOT for their teamwork on this project, and to SW Trails for their advocacy for a better trail system,” says Parks Commissioner Carmen Rubio. “This bridge is an important step in providing safer biking and walking recreational opportunities for families in Southwest Portland. When we come together as a city, great things happen for our community.”
The Red Electric Bridge project’s main feature is a 10-foot-wide trail from the intersection of SW Bertha Boulevard and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, traveling south over a ravine on a 12-foot-wide bridge where it intersects with SW Capitol Highway. The project also includes new lighting, updated guardrails along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, ADA sidewalk curb ramps, pedestrian and bicycle crosswalk striping, improved grading and drainage, retaining walls and stormwater facilities, and new trees and landscaping in and around the new bridge.
“This beautiful bridge will create safer connections for our neighbors in Southwest Portland,” said Transportation Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty. “As we emerge and recover from the pandemic, it is exciting to see a new safe space open through such a gorgeous nature area. I’m proud of the work done by the staff at PBOT to design and construct another car-free bridge as we continue to build a more climate-resilient Portland.”
The Red Electric Trail is a major regional trail that connects the existing Fanno Creek Trail west of Alpenrose Dairy to the Willamette Greenway Trail in South Waterfront. It generally follows the old Red Electric train line which opened up in 1914 and closed in 1929. It is being built as part of the Portland region’s 220 miles of regional trails. When completed, there will be 16 miles of safer, mostly off-road Red Electric trail between the Tualatin and Willamette Rivers. “This new bike and pedestrian bridge is a dream come true for the many SW Trails volunteers who have been working together with the City for nearly 25 years to make this new bridge become a reality,” said Doug Rogers, president of SW Trails, a community group that promotes wellness and supports safe walking and biking in southwest Portland. “This will be a safe, family-friendly, active transportation route for the residents of our community. This is just the beginning of the realization of our really big dream to see the entire Red Electric Trail completed.”
The bridge will also connect to the future SW Bertha Pedestrian Shared Street and Neighborhood Greenway, a Southwest in Motion project that will create a low-stress pedestrian and bicycle connection between SW 30th Avenue and SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. The SW Bertha Boulevard Neighborhood Greenway (located on the segment locally known as “Little Bertha”) is scheduled for construction in 2024 thanks to funding from Fixing Our Streets.
The Red Electric Trail Bridge Project was funded by a $2.1 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, approved by Metro Council and disbursed through the Oregon Department of Transportation, $1.5 million in PBOT Transportation System Development Charges, and $1.1 million in Parks System Development Charges. The total project budget was $4.7 million.