Monday, February 24, 2014

Steel Bridge Closure 2/24

The problem with sharing a bridge: sometimes your bedfellows need to do repairs. And because of the Union Pacific Railroad planned repairs, TriMet had to detour buses off the bridge and run MAX shuttles overnight for the last two weekends. Being the curious investigator I am, I decided to see what happened for myself.

The situation: On February 6, 2014, TriMet emailed a service alert informing the public that Union Pacific Railroad would be doing scheduled maintenance overnight for the two weekends immediately approaching. Because of the Snowpocalypse, UPRR deferred the first weekend of work to a future weekend, later determined to be the weekend following the original second weekend. On February 13, TriMet sent out the email with the finalized times.
Overall, the service disruption was expected to last from 11pm-8:30am the nights of Saturday and Sunday for both weekends. And yes, you counted correctly: this meant the disruption was to run into the Monday morning rush hour. Fortunately, the first weekend was Presidents' Day, so we had a lighter ridership load by default. But this would mean significant impact for the second Monday, especially if things didn't go right and there were delays. (You can see the real news release from TriMet's website here.)

What we learned: I decided to head down there for the second Monday rush hour and observe how the bus bridge was designed, how MAX trains were being moved through and turned around, how riders were reacting, and what supervisors and customer service personnel were doing to make it all work. I took Lane along and we traveled down to the Steel Bridge to experience the bus bridge for ourselves and share with you what happened over the last two weekends.

(Special thanks to Lane for making this video so cool and informative. It sure beats me just writing another essay.)


  1. Replies
    1. There it is! Boy that's dedication getting up at that hour to report on this. You didn't tell us how much time was added on to a max trip? How much time did that bus shuttle add to the riders commute? So basically your report states that buses where always waiting for max riders when they arrived at RQ and visa versa?

      Nice job, still doesn't excuse Porkland planning processes for building a brand new bridge for one MAX line at the same time ignoring the old tired bridge for the bulk of MAX ridership.

      Nothing in your video report would make me even think of giving up my car. Unfortunately for many commuters to downtown there is no choice but public transit.

      Is this the end of this work? Is the bridge in good working order now? There were plenty of tweets from unhappy Trimet riders, I don't let em off the hook as easily as you do.


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