Watch: TriMet to repair only working wood trestle bridge in its system

Written by Bill Wilson, Editor-in-Chief
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TriMet will improve the condition of the Fairview Creek trestle bridge.

A year after signal and communication improvements at the end of the MAX Blue Line in Gresham began, TriMet will wrap up the project in October. While the work has been ongoing since September 2019, October’s disruption will result in the repair of a wooden trestle and improvements to the rail crossing at Northwest Eastman Parkway.

To tie in the new signal equipment to the trackway, MAX Blue Line will be disrupted on Sunday, Oct. 11, through Saturday, Oct. 17. Regular service will return on Sunday, Oct. 18. During the disruption, shuttle buses will serve stations between Rockwood/E 188 Ave and Cleveland Ave.

TriMet will use the shutdown as an opportunity to make repairs to an old trestle that hasn’t seen improvements in decades. TriMet crews have already started work on the underside of the Fairview Creek trestle, placing temporary towers in preparation for replacing the wooden beams. During the seven-day disruption, they’ll work on both the upper and lower portions of the structure and complete a job that can only be done when trains aren’t moving in the area.

Located between the Ruby Junction/E. 197th Avenue and Civic Drive stations, the Fairview Creek trestle holds the unique distinction of being the only wooden structure in our system that trains pass over. Originally built in the 1940s to help carry freight trains, TriMet purchased the trestle in the early 1980s during the development of the original Blue Line. It’s one of two side-by-side structures that cross the creek and Wy’East Way Path. It only carries trains heading westbound. The other crossing, a concrete structure, carries eastbound trains and was built in the 1990s when TriMet put in another set of tracks through the area.

Crews will make structural upgrades to extend the trestle’s life cycle, replacing the old wooden supports with new ones. On the upper portion of the trestle rail and ties will be removed so workers have better access to the underside of the bridge. The repairs will make the trestle more durable and create a smoother rider over it.

In the fall of 2019, TriMet made a series of track, signal and crossing improvements. Since then, the agency has finished constructing a new building at the Cleveland Avenue Station that will house the signal system and operator facilities. This replaces a building that was nearly 40 years old.

During the project, crews will be replacing the signal equipment and rerouting the signal conduits and cables, and making connections to all field equipment. Once this work is completed, trains will run through the area to test the new system and make sure it’s working. 

Crews will also put the finishing touches on rail crossing improvements that began in 2019. Crews will perform additional repairs to the eastbound crossing at Northwest Eastman Parkway by replacing the rubber rail boot and repaving asphalt near the crossing panels. This will make for a smoother ride for those on MAX, as well as cyclists and autos.  

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Categories: Bridge/Retaining Walls/Tunnels, C&S, Commuter/Regional, ON Track Maintenance, Passenger, Rail News, Railroad News, Rapid Transit/Light Rail, Safety/Training, Track Maintenance, Track Structure
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