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Author Topic: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge  (Read 1623 times)

skluth

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September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« on: February 18, 2020, 04:43:45 PM »

Region braces for trunnion trauma
Officials plan for nine-day closure of Interstate 5 Bridge’s northbound span

Important info from the article (follow link to read full article)

The span will shuts down for up to nine days, starting Sept. 12 and ending Sept. 20.

All vehicular traffic will be switched to the three-lane southbound span. As was the case with the 1997 closure, a movable “zipper” barrier will create two travel lanes to accommodate rush-hour traffic into Portland in the morning and two lanes for the afternoon commute to Clark County. The barrier will be moved at 2 a.m. before the morning commute begins and at noon before afternoon rush hour starts.

The closure is to replace two trunnions, part of the drawbridge’s lifting mechanism that allows tall vessels to pass under the green structure. The work will replace sheaves, or wheels about 12 feet in diameter, sheave covers, cables and trunnions, which are axles 20 inches in diameter that help lift and lower the bridge.

I don't live in the area but I have friends who do, so this came to my attention.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2020, 09:55:23 PM by Bickendan »
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Bruce

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2020, 07:29:57 PM »

If only that MAX extension was built to provide a meaningful alternative route. Vancouver/Clark County brought this on themselves.

sp_redelectric

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2020, 12:54:16 AM »

If only that MAX extension was built to provide a meaningful alternative route. Vancouver/Clark County brought this on themselves.

Or commuter rail as an alternative - a much cheaper alternative - to light rail.

But Clark County isn't responsible for the maintenance and operation of state highways.  Because they don't want to pay billions of dollars for a light rail line that will serve comparatively few people, a geographically tiny part of the city of Vancouver (much less the County), but indebt the region for decades to come causing them to cut their C-Tran bus system, is hardly a reason to condemn them for making sound financial decisions unlike their neighbor to the south.
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TEG24601

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2020, 12:28:28 PM »

Sounds like WSDOT and ODOT should really work with BNSF and Amtrak to run trains from Vancouver to Union Station, working with C-Tran and Tri-Met to increase their services to the two stations.  With a little bit of work, and good will among all the parties involved, this could be a non-issue.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2020, 01:36:32 PM »

Sounds like WSDOT and ODOT should really work with BNSF and Amtrak to run trains from Vancouver to Union Station, working with C-Tran and Tri-Met to increase their services to the two stations.  With a little bit of work, and good will among all the parties involved, this could be a non-issue.

Do those tracks have capacity to add commuter rail? 

Where I work (in the East), citizens often ask about adding commuter rail trains on tracks owned by CSX and to a lesser extent NS.  On most of the CSX tracks, there is no capacity to add more commuter trains, so CSX says no, since they are in the freight train business, not the passenger train business.

And where would the rolling stock for a short-term commuter rail service come from?
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Bruce

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2020, 10:45:56 PM »

BNSF charges a lot for passenger rail slots on their tracks, especially through chokepoints. The topography of the Pacific Northwest made it hard to build many rail corridors in the first place, and then we went ahead and dismantled quite a few in the late 20th century. So there are few places to reroute freight traffic.

ErmineNotyours

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2020, 11:58:28 PM »

Sounds like WSDOT and ODOT should really work with BNSF and Amtrak to run trains from Vancouver to Union Station, working with C-Tran and Tri-Met to increase their services to the two stations.  With a little bit of work, and good will among all the parties involved, this could be a non-issue.

Do those tracks have capacity to add commuter rail? 

Where I work (in the East), citizens often ask about adding commuter rail trains on tracks owned by CSX and to a lesser extent NS.  On most of the CSX tracks, there is no capacity to add more commuter trains, so CSX says no, since they are in the freight train business, not the passenger train business.

And where would the rolling stock for a short-term commuter rail service come from?

The Holiday Inn Washington-Capitol at L'Enfant Plaza, Washington, DC is right by a busy railroad.  When I stayed there in September, I got a room on the side of the hotel overlooking the tracks.  There seemed to be constant Amtrak and Virginia Railway Express trains all morning and afternoon, and CSX all night long.  (I was never there mid-day.  After the first night, I got used to the noise.)  This could be the future of commuter rail in other cities, though in Portland's case it wouldn't make much sense to tie up freight all day to clear such a short crossing, only to arrive in Seattle (for instance) during their commuter runs.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #7 on: March 05, 2020, 12:53:43 AM »

Do those tracks have capacity to add commuter rail? 

The last time ODOT/WSDOT had to shut down half of the Interstate Bridge for a trunnion repair, BNSF and Amtrak did provide a limited commuter train service between the Vancouver station and Union Station, with connecting C-Tran bus service.  BNSF did do so under the one condition that the limited service was in no way, shape or form a committment or promise to run commuter trains anytime in the future, but for the planned three week closure BNSF was definitely happy to help out.  Amtrak provided a trainset that ran as a shuttle continuously back and forth.

Of course BNSF will want to be paid, but BNSF has been far better a partner on commuter rail than UP has been (basically don't ask).

Quote
then we went ahead and dismantled quite a few in the late 20th century

Please show me these rail corridors that we dismantled in the late 20th century in the Portland metro area...

The only abandonments "in the late 20th century" that I could consider would be where westside MAX and the Springwater Trail are, and neither of those routes would be at all suitable for re-routing overhead freight (or passenger) traffic much less help out with an I-5 closure.  The only other route would be the former Southern Pacific Westside Line between McMinnville and Forest Grove, and considering there is already another route that serves that same routing and is also not in use due to zero demand, I'm not sure there is any need to "reroute freight traffic" that doesn't exist nor will exist any time soon.
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sparker

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #8 on: March 05, 2020, 07:43:07 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^
The most significant abandonment to date was the line surmounting Cornelius Pass via a tunnel parallel to the existing road;  it was the owned by BNSF (as part of its old Oregon Electric subsidiary, which extended from PDX south to Eugene) and was the only route that didn't involve utilizing the UP (former SP) line from Milwaukie southwest through Lake Oswego and paralleling 99W via McMinnville and Monmouth (accessed via trackage rights over UP).  Once the combined UP and BNSF tracks southwest of Portland were acquired by regional rail corporation Genesee Western in the mid-90's, the longer and harder-to-maintain Cornelius Pass line was considered superfluous. 
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2020, 07:54:08 PM »

They really should be doing this now if they can. I'm sure they've thought about it … but boy this would make life easier.
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sp_redelectric

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2020, 01:15:30 AM »

The most significant abandonment to date was the line surmounting Cornelius Pass via a tunnel parallel to the existing road;  it was the owned by BNSF (as part of its old Oregon Electric subsidiary, which extended from PDX south to Eugene) and was the only route that didn't involve utilizing the UP (former SP) line from Milwaukie southwest through Lake Oswego and paralleling 99W via McMinnville and Monmouth (accessed via trackage rights over UP).  Once the combined UP and BNSF tracks southwest of Portland were acquired by regional rail corporation Genesee Western in the mid-90's, the longer and harder-to-maintain Cornelius Pass line was considered superfluous. 

Um.  The route over Cornelius Pass is most definitely **NOT** abandoned; it is still used by the Portland & Western Railroad for at least one daily round-trip, and P&W often routes its Tigard-Vancouver train (a.k.a. "The 663") over Cornelius Pass as needed.  In fact, I can assure you the P&W ran trains over Cornelius Pass each day for at least the last three days.

Also, P&W not only purchased a portion of the Port of Tillamook Bay Railroad between Hillsboro and Banks - the ONLY track P&W owns outright (every other inch of P&W track is either under lease, or P&W only owns the track and not the underlying right-of-way) - AND, P&W paid several million dollars to build a new connecting track at Wilkesboro, just south of Banks, to allow trains from Hillsboro to switch directly onto the route over Cornelius Pass without pulling into Banks and then having to perform a runaround move.  Why would P&W go to all that expense for an abandoned track?
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sparker

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Re: September nine-day closure of NB I-5 Columbia River bridge
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2020, 02:16:39 AM »

^^^^^^^^^^^^
My bad for making an assumption based on Oregonian articles the last time I was in town (ca. 2011) that stated  P&W was intending to at least "mothball" the line.  Since there was nothing in the RR publications to which I subscribe that stated otherwise, my impression was retained.  But even though there are some egg crumbs on my face (I prefer scrambled!) I'm glad to hear that the line is still up & running.  Question: did they ever fix or at least ameliorate the leaks in the summit tunnel (the stated reason for the original mothball/abandonment "plans")?
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