Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People is the newest span to cross the Willamette River in Portland, OR
There’s a new bridge in Bridgetown.
Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People is a cable-stayed bridge across the Willamette River. Opening just last month on September 12, 2015, it was designed by TriMet, the Portland metropolitan area’s regional transit authority, for its MAX Orange Line light rail passenger trains.
The bridge also serves city buses and the Portland Streetcar, as well as bicycles, pedestrians, and emergency vehicles.
Private cars and trucks are not permitted.
In homage to Native American civilizations, the bridge was named with the local Chinook word for people.
City planners initially focused on three designs: cable-stayed, wave-frame girder, and through arch, but the design committee eventually recommended a hybrid suspension/cable-stayed design. Despite the recommendation, TriMet chose a cable-stayed option by MacDonald Architects in order to reduce cost. MacDonald had previously designed the similar Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
The 780-foot-long main span deck is separated into a 31-foot-wide transitway between the tower legs to accommodate two lanes of track and two flanking multi-use paths for pedestrians and cyclists.
Cable saddles were incorporated in TYLI’s bridge design to allow for more slender, solid towers and a cleaner bridge profile. Tilikum Crossing is the first bridge in the U.S. to use the Freyssinet multi-tube saddle design, which allows each cable to run continuously from the deck, through the top of the tower and back down to the other side. Approximately 3.5 miles of cables run continuously through the tower saddle, instead of terminating in each tower.
The crossing opened for general use on September 12, 2015, becoming the first new bridge built across the river in the Portland metropolitan area since 1973. An aesthetic lighting system will use 178 LEDs to illuminate the cables, towers, and underside of the deck. The color and motion of the lighting changes along with the speed, height and water temperature of the Willamette.
Tilikum is a Chinook Jargon word meaning people, tribe, or family, and the name is intended to honor the Multnomah, Cascade, Clackamas, and other Chinookan peoples who lived in the area as long as 14,000 years ago. The Tilikum name also references the pervasive use of Chinook Jargon in Portland’s first half century in the frequent trade interactions between pioneers and Native Americans.