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Bridge Planners Face Hurdles in Portland

As new design requirements come in at a late stage, bridge planners in Portland are trying to nail down a design for the new light rail bridge that is affordable, appropriate and beautiful. But the beauty aspect may fall to economics.

"Intended mainly to carry a new MAX light rail line to Milwaukie and the southeast, the bridge also would carry streetcars, buses, bicyclists and pedestrians across the river -- but no cars."

"Engineering and cost considerations are throwing hurdles at the bridge, calling for it to span tall and wide enough for barges in the river, yet low enough for train stations to nestle comfortably a few blocks from the riverbank.

"'Beautiful' is a major wild card in this debate. It may be more expensive, depending on whom you talk to."

"And it underscores a key question driving the design: Must this bridge live in the context of its neighbors, the cagelike Interstate 5 Marquam Bridge to the north and humble concrete Ross Island to the south? Or should it make its own memorable statement?"

Full Story: Willamette bridge planners say design is key

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