Portlands Eastbank Esplanade reopens

first_imgA team of Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) operations supervisors and engineers working on-site has determined that the floating walkway and bike path underneath the Burnside Bridge shall be RE-OPENED to all foot and bike traffic. Crews are working to remove fencing and should be finished by 12 noon on Monday, June 20, 2011. The area affected was approximately 1000-to-1500 feet of floating territory that the recent high water on the Willamette made impassable. PP&R engineers and survey teams concluded via on-site inspections, in conjunction with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data, that the water level had dropped below the target height of 16 feet, making the reopening possible. PP&R teams will continue to survey the water levels regularly and cannot rule out re-closing the walkway in the future, depending on the conditions.The elevated water levels had forced the temporary closure of the Eastside Esplanade’s floating walkway from May 31st until today. The walkway transitions from a sidewalk to a wooden deck over water beneath the Burnside Bridge on both sides. However, the closure affected users from north of the Morrison Bridge to south of the Steel bridge.The temporary closure was marked by signs and construction fencing, for the safety of the thousands of walkers, runners and cyclists who typically use the area daily.A PP&R 2010 study indicated that close to 2750 bike trips are made on the Eastbank Esplanade daily; a large number of walkers and runners also use the area.High water was exacerbated by both recent rains, and by hot weather that may have accelerated snowmelt, further prolonging high water conditions. As the water rose, it lifted the floating bridge so that the connecting portions between the bridge and fixed, concrete sidewalk were at unsuitable angles. Portland Parks & Recreation’s primary concern is for the safety of everyone using the area, and the Bureau kept the floating platform closed until the water subsided to the target height of below 16 feet. Engineers insist on maintaining a few inches of pad beyond the 16′ mark in case of fluctuations in the water level.last_img read more