Broadway Bridge (Portland)
|Carries||Vehicles, Portland Streetcar and pedestrians|
|Maintained by||Multnomah County|
|Design||Truss with double-leaf Rall-type bascule lift span|
|Total length||1,742 (531 m)|
|Longest span||Fixed: 297 ft (91 m)
278 ft (85 m)
|Vertical clearance||13 feet (3.9 m)|
|Clearance below||70 ft closed|
April 22, 1913
|Location||Portland, Oregon; Willamette River at river mile 11.7|
|MPS||Willamette River Highway Bridges of Portland, Oregon|
|NRHP Reference #||12000930|
|Added to NRHP||November 14, 2012|
The Broadway Bridge is a bascule bridge spanning the Willamette River in Portland, Oregon, United States. Completed in 1913, it was the first bascule bridge in Portland and the longest in the world at the time of its completion. It is the longest remaining Rall-type bascule bridge and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in November 2012.
History and description
The bridge was designed by engineer Ralph Modjeski and opened on April 22, 1913, at a cost of $1.6 million. Because it was to be the world's largest bascule bridge, there was competition between the patent holders of the Strauss, Scherzer, and Rall types. The Rall was selected based on cost, but the more complicated rolling lift mechanisms of the Scherzer and Rall types eventually lost favor to the simpler fixed-trunnion bascules such as the Chicago and Strauss.
The bridge is named for the street it carries, Broadway, but at the time of the bridge's construction that street name was only in use east of the river. The westside portion of what is now Broadway had been named 7th Avenue, but was renamed Broadway when the bridge opened.
The bridge carries two lanes of vehicle traffic in each direction and has a pair of 11-foot (3.4 m) wide sidewalks. As of 2001, it carried 27,000 vehicles per day and opened for river traffic around 25 times per month. It is also one of the main bridges for bicyclists crossing the Willamette in Portland, with over 2,000 crossing daily.
The bridge was originally black, matching the nearby Steel and Hawthorne spans, but in 1961 Portland architect Lewis Crutcher suggested repainting all three different colors. The Broadway Bridge was repainted "Golden Gate" red (also known as international orange) in 1963.
Because it is such a complicated bridge there have been frequent repairs to its structure and mechanicals. In 1948, the concrete deck was replaced with steel grating. During 1982, bicycle access was improved through an $18,000 signal and sidewalk upgrade. In order to improve access and reduce energy costs, the sidewalks and lighting were replaced in 2000–2001. The Lovejoy Viaduct was removed in 1999 as part of the $10 million construction of the shorter Lovejoy Ramp that opened in September 2001. A $28 million renovation began in February 2003. Included in this was the replacement of steel grating with a fiber-reinforced polymer composite material called DuraSpan, made by Martin Marietta Materials. The renovation was completed in February 2005.
In July 2010 the bridge was temporarily closed to all traffic for two months to lay streetcar tracks for an extension of the Portland Streetcar system. The bridge reopened (two of four lanes) on September 4. Streetcars had previously crossed the bridge from its opening in 1913 until 1940; by at least 1944, the abandoned tracks had been removed or paved over. Trolley buses also used the Broadway Bridge from 1937 to 1958. The new streetcar line opened in September 2012. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in November 2012.
In popular culture
The Broadway Bridge is prominently featured in the climax of the 2008 film Untraceable. In the film, FBI agent Jennifer Marsh (Diane Lane) becomes stranded on the east end of the bridge after an online serial killer hacks into her car's computer. The scene was filmed both on the actual bridge as well as on a sound stage.
In the 2001 film, Bandits, Joe Blake (played by Bruce Willis) and Terry Collins (played by Billy Bob Thornton) are driving across the Broadway Bridge when their stolen car runs out of gas. Both men leave the car on the bridge, but when Terry returns with gas, he finds the police surrounding their car. Terry turns around, trying not to draw attention to himself, and descends a set of stairs on the west side of the bridge and walks onto Naito Parkway, where he is hit by Kate Wheeler (Cate Blanchett), who is driving a speeding car.
Historic American Engineering Record drawings
- Wood Wortman, Sharon; Wortman, Ed (2006). The Portland Bridge Book (3rd Edition). Urban Adventure Press. pp. 31–38. ISBN 0-9787365-1-6.
- "Weekly list of actions taken on properties: 11/13/12 through 11/16/12". National Park Service. November 23, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2013.
- Smith, Dwight A. (1989). Historic Highway Bridges of Oregon. Oregon Historical Society Press. p. 116. ISBN 0-87595-205-4.
- Tims, Dana (November 21, 2012). "Four Multnomah County bridges listed on National Register of Historic Places". The Oregonian. p. B1. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Glomb, Jozef; Peter J. Obst (Translator) (2002) (in English). A man who spanned two eras: The story of bridge engineer Ralph Modjeski. Philadelphia: Kosciuszko Foundation. ISBN 978-0-917004-25-4.
- Wood, Sharon (2001). The Portland Bridge Book. Oregon Historical Society. ISBN 0-87595-211-9.
- "Willamette River (Broadway) Bridge" (Word). Oregon Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2006-11-06.
- "BikePortland.org: bridge bike traffic up in '05". Retrieved 2006-04-09.
- Editorial (October 12, 1961). "'Singing' Bridges". The Oregonian, p. 24.
- Editorial (May 28, 1962). "Orange-Red Bridge". The Oregonian, p. 16.
- "The Broadway Bridge". Light The Bridges. Willamette Light Brigade. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- "Broadway Bridge". The Low/No-Budget Guide to Portland Oregon. Zinester's Guide to Portland. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- "Broadway Span To Shut Sunday" (June 20, 1963). The Oregonian, Section 2, p. 12.
- "Broadway Lighting and Sidewalk Project". Multnomah County. Retrieved 2006-11-09.
- "Martin Marietta Composites Completes Landmark Installation Of Broadway Bridge Deck" (Press release). Martin Marietta Materials. August 20, 2004. Retrieved 2006-11-09.
- Rose, Joseph (July 14, 2010). "Slideshow update: Transportation officials improve Broadway Bridge bike, pedestrian detour". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Rose, Joseph (July 5, 2010). "Streetcar work shutting down Broadway Bridge". The Oregonian. p. A10. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Rose, Joseph (September 2, 2010). "Two lanes, sidewalk of Portland's Broadway Bridge set to reopen Saturday". The Oregonian. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Wood, Sharon M. (April 23, 1984). "Robust Broadway Bridge celebrates 71st year in fine shape". The Oregonian, p. B5.
- Rose, Joseph (September 22, 2012). "Portland Streetcar's eastside loop gets off to hobbled start Saturday". The Oregonian. p. B1. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- Harden, Kevin (November 20, 2012). "Four downtown bridges earn historic honors". Portland Tribune. Retrieved November 20, 2012.
- KATU review: The Broadway Bridge stars in "Untraceable"
- YouTube video: "On the Broadway Bridge"
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Broadway Bridge.|
- Broadway Bridge page on Multnomah County website
- Willamette Light Brigade
- "Broadway Bridge" at Centuries Since the Day
- Broadway Bridge at Structurae
- Broadway Bridge Flickr group