Beginning March 19, SW Boones Ferry Road will be closed for an estimated seven months between SW Comus Court and SW Arnold Street, affecting vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic. The City of Portland Environmental Services will construct a bridge over Tryon Creek, which currently runs under the road via a culvert (a tunnel carrying a stream or open drain under a road).
SW Boones Ferry Road is an essential road for the Lewis & Clark community and the local area. It is the fastest way to get to certain areas of Lake Oswego from campus, and many students, staff and faculty who live off-campus take SW Boones Ferry Road to get to and from campus.
Conner Ayers ’20, an LC student who regularly uses SW Boones Ferry Road to commute to campus, says the closure will be a challenge.
“Oh really?” Ayers said. “That’s kind of annoying. It’ll add traffic. But I’ll get to listen to more podcasts.”
According to the City of Portland’s website, the current culvert cannot handle large flows of water, which is detrimental to fish and wildlife that live in and around Tryon Creek. Additionally, the culvert does not allow sufficient access to fish. During the construction, efforts to reduce erosion and improve wildlife habitat will also be undertaken. The bridge will include a trail parallel to the creek.
The culvert is currently one of two major barriers to fish that exist on Tryon Creek. Currently, there are plans to replace the other culvert, located under Highway 43, with a bridge as well. This would open up Tryon Creek to endangered Willamette River salmon and steelhead.
Mike Jordan, the environmental services director for the City of Portland, commented on the project.
“The culvert was a barrier, the bridge will be a connector,” Jordan said on the City of Portland website. “Instead of squeezing the creek into a dark corrugated pipe, the bridge will allow one of Portland’s healthiest streams to flow freely, unlocking upstream and downstream habitat for fish. For people and wildlife, the trail alongside the creek will create a safe pathway that connects to Southwest Portland’s extensive trail network.”
A detour is being set up by the City of Portland (see map), which will utilize SW Taylors Ferry Road, SW Stephenson Street and SW 35th Avenue. The detour adds approximately 10 minutes driving time to campus. However, this estimate does not include the likely increased traffic on the detour due to the traffic. Portland Bureau of Transportation will be monitoring the detour to make sure no traffic issues occur.