MAX Orange Line
|MAX Orange Line|
Tilikum Crossing under construction, August 2014
|System||MAX Light Rail|
|Stations||17 (plus 1 proposed future station)|
|Daily ridership||22,765 (projected year 2030)|
|Website||Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project|
|Opening||September 12, 2015 (planned)|
|Line length||7.3 mi (11.7 km)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Electrification||750 V DC, overhead catenary|
The MAX Orange Line, also known as the Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Project, is a planned light rail line for the Metropolitan Area Express light rail system in Portland, Oregon, USA. The $1.49 billion project is currently under construction. The line is the second part of a two-phase transportation plan known as the South Corridor Project, bringing light rail service to Clackamas County. Starting in downtown Portland and following the Portland Transit Mall, the 7.3-mile (11.7 km) Orange Line will run between Union Station and Milwaukie, terminating at Park Avenue, just south of downtown Milwaukie. The first construction work, related to the new Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River began on June 30, 2011, and if the project continues to advance as currently scheduled, the line will open for service on September 12, 2015.
The Orange Line will be built off the downtown terminus of the Green and Yellow Lines, at Portland State University. During planning and construction, the new bridge being built for the line used the temporary name of Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge, but in April 2014 it was officially named Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People. From there, the line will turn south and continue into Southeast Portland. The planned stations will serve the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, the Brooklyn neighborhood, and Milwaukie, Oregon through the McLoughlin Boulevard corridor. As part of construction, safety improvements were made at the SE 8th, 11th, and 12th avenues crossings in Southeast Portland, and the SE Mailwell Drive, SE Harrison, Monroe and Washington streets, and 21st Avenue crossings in Milwaukie. This allows these crossings to be designated quiet zones, where Union Pacific Railroad, Portland and Western Railroad and MAX trains will not have to blow their horns when passing through.
In the early 1970s, a light rail line was proposed in this corridor. It would have run from Downtown Portland via the Hawthorne Bridge to Oregon City, primarily along the old Portland Traction Company right-of-way. This route was to be the first of five light rail lines which would have run over existing rail lines in the Portland region. The hope was to get this Portland – Oregon City line running as soon as possible by using secondhand PCC streetcars from Toronto until brand new Boeing light rail vehicles could be obtained. The light rail line was shelved when the planned Mount Hood Freeway was canceled in the mid-1970s and the region's transportation planning redirected to transit alternatives to the Mount Hood Freeway in the Portland - Gresham corridor.
In the mid-1990s, light rail was planned again along much of this corridor as part of the proposed "South-North Light Rail" line which was to have run from Clackamas Town Center to Milwaukie, then north to Downtown Portland and along Interstate Avenue to Vancouver, Washington. In November 1994, "nearly two-thirds" of voters in the Oregon part of the Portland metropolitan area voted in support of a $475 million bond issue to provide the local-area share (Oregon portion) of the project's estimated $2.8 billion cost. However, three months later, a majority of voters in Clark County, Washington, rejected a bond issue to provide that county's $237.5 million share of the South-North project's funding, leading eventually to those plans' being shelved. (Plans for a MAX line north from downtown Portland along Interstate Avenue were later revived, as the Yellow Line, but without the portion extending across the Columbia River to Vancouver, and this opened in 2004.)
Planning for light rail connecting Portland with Clackamas County later resumed. After public meetings it was decided that the first MAX line to Clackamas County should be along Interstate 205, from Gateway to Clackamas Town Center, but that this would be phase 1 of a two-part expansion of the MAX system, with a Portland–Milwaukie line as phase 2. The I-205 line opened in 2009, as the MAX Green Line.
Meanwhile, planning for the Portland–Milwaukie line continued, including study of, and public input on, several different alternatives for the exact route. In 2008, the Locally Preferred Alternative was chosen. The MAX Light Rail to Milwaukie will terminate at Park Avenue station rather than Lake Road, as originally planned in 2003.
On April 5, 2011, the Federal Railway Administration approved the start of the project's final design; at that time, design work was roughly thirty percent complete and projected to be finished in about a year. The approval meant that TriMet could begin purchasing right-of-way and some construction materials.
Construction began on June 30, 2011, initially limited to work at the site of Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River, but right-of-way preparation work (such as removal of trees) began in the southern part of downtown Portland in late September 2011.
In July 2013, the project reached 50-percent completion. The line is tentatively scheduled to open on September 12, 2015.
As construction finished in March 2015, the line was under budget in the range of $10 million to $40 million. After a petition from Jeff Merkley, the Federal Transit Administration approved the addition of switch heaters, catenary ice caps, and additional station shelters, totaling $3.6 million, which were deferred from the original plans during the funding agreement with the FTA. However, the remaining 50% matching funds from the FTA must be returned, leaving the excess local funds in the range of $5 million to $20 million after the funding process is complete in 2019. These TriMet bond funds can only be used for capital projects, due to the conditions under which they were raised.
Please note that routings, station names, and station locations are subject to change. Interchanges with proposed MAX lines and reroutings are italicized.
- "Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. February 2014. Retrieved April 19, 2014.
- "Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. June 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- Rose, Joseph (June 29–30, 2011). "Construction begins on new light-rail bridge in Portland that will go up 'piece by piece'". The Oregonian. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Rose, Joseph (July 26, 2013). "TriMet announces opening date for Portland-Milwaukie light rail line". The Oregonian. p. B3. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Rose, Joseph (March 29, 2011). "Feds approve design for Portland-Milwaukie light rail line". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Construction Timeline, Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail. TriMet. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "Portland–Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge Fact Sheet" (PDF). TriMet. August 2012. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- Rose, Joseph (December 8, 2010). "TriMet board gives greenlight to Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail bridge funding". The Oregonian. Retrieved September 24, 2011.
- Rose, Joseph (April 16, 2014). "Tilikum Crossing: New Portland bridge named after Chinook word for 'people'". The Oregonian. Retrieved April 16, 2014.
- "Stay safe near the new MAX Orange Line" (PDF). TriMet. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- Oliver, Gordon (November 10, 1994). "One down, more to go for reality of north-south rail line". The Oregonian, p. C10.
- Oliver, Gordon (February 8, 1995). "Clark County turns down north-south light rail". The Oregonian, p. 1.
- Redden, Jim (September 10, 2009). "After 35 years of waiting, TriMet’s Green Line hits all the parties: Thousands ride new I-205 line that was born of a ’70s freeway rebellion". Portland Tribune. Retrieved December 9, 2014.
- "Portland light rail extension starts final design". Railway Gazette International. April 5, 2011. Archived from the original on April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 5, 2011.
- Fetsch, Mary (March 27, 2015). "MAX Orange Line – on time and under budget". TriMet. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
- Redden, Jim (August 20, 2009). "Cities fight to avoid being left at station". Portland Tribune. Retrieved July 27, 2013.