Light rail construction brings traffic changes to SE Portland


Changes begin mid-June and impact vehicle traffic, and bike/ped access

Construction of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project will bring traffic and travel changes to SE Portland beginning in mid-June.

Northbound traffic change along SE 17th Avenue

Beginning Friday, June 15 and continuing for about a year, northbound travel will be detoured from SE 17th Avenue between Holgate and Powell (map attached). The construction includes demolition of the Powell Blvd overpass and construction of two new structures: one for the new MAX line and one for motorists, bikes and pedestrians.

  • Vehicles traveling northbound on 17th will be detoured to McLoughlin via SE Holgate; SE 17th will remain open to local traffic only between Holgate and Haig.
  • 2 bus lines will be impacted. Lines 17-Holgate/NW 21st and 70-12th Ave will be detoured off SE 17th north of Holgate (at SE Center Street), and instead will serve stops on SE Milwaukie to Powell Blvd.
  • Pedestrians/bicycles: Northbound and southbound bike/pedestrian access across SE Powell at 17th will be closed. Sidewalks underneath the structure will also be closed until spring/summer 2013 (north side closes June 15, 2012; south side closes July 20, 2012). The bike/ped overpass at SE 9th is an alternative to crossing Powell, along with signals at SE Milwaukie, 13th and 21st avenues.

Southbound travel from SE Powell Blvd onto 17th is not affected by the construction at this time. There will be two Powell Blvd weekend closures and occasional night work during the year of construction. The first full weekend closure will be the weekend of July 20-22.

Bike & Pedestrian Detours near the south end of the Eastbank Esplanade

  • Beginning Monday, June 18 through Friday, June 22, utility relocation will close the Willamette Greenway Trail between SE Clay and Caruthers streets. Cyclists and pedestrians will be rerouted onto SE Clay Street and SE Old Water Avenue (map attached).
  • For about three weeks beginning Monday, June 25, cyclists and pedestrians on SE Caruthers Street west of Old Water Avenue will be routed onto the sidewalk and around isolated work areas (phases include closure of the cul-de-sac and flagger-controlled access at the intersection at SE Caruthers and Old Water Avenue). Minor delays expected.

Construction dates subject to change; updates online at


About the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project

The 7.3-mile project is the region’s sixth MAX construction project to be built and extends from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State

University in Downtown Portland to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and North

Clackamas County.  About the project:

  • 7.3 miles
  • 10 stations
  • The first of its kind multi-modal bridge over the Willamette River that will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.
  • Opens in September 2015
  • Expands the MAX system to 60 miles and 97 stations

Project partners

Clackamas County, Metro, City of Milwaukie, Multnomah County, City of Oregon City, Oregon Department of Transportation, City of Portland, Portland Development Commission and TriMet.