Officials originally contemplated adding space for cars, but found the higher price tag, cumbersome federal design standards and projected traffic impacts forbidding, according to Michael Burnham. The structure is a key component of a 7-mile light rail extension and will be the first of its kind in the U.S. Completion is expected for 2015.
It may surprise some that even in transit-friendly Portland, the project has outspoken critics, writes Burnham:
"San Francisco-based architect Donald McDonald's bridge, more than 1,700 feet long, will feature two 181-foot-tall towers that anchor cables that rise from the river like a sea monster's fins...The Oregonian newspaper dubbed the bridge 'Godzilla on the Willamette' and charged it would 'severely limit' residential development on both sides of the river."