(VIDEO) Six-week MAX disruption planned as TriMet nears completion of major Better Red milestone


Note: Due to extreme winter weather in January 2024, the completion date for the project shifted. The following media release has been edited to reflect that change.

Some MAX riders encouraged to use other transportation as contractors finish construction at the Gateway Transit Center and perform additional improvements

TriMet is preparing to put the finishing touches on our A Better Red construction at the Gateway/NE 99th Ave Transit Center, capping off a major part of a project that broke ground in September 2021. To reach this milestone, the Gateway Transit Center will be closed to trains. During that time, crews will connect the new track and systems that were previously constructed just north of the transit center, and they’ll get the new Gateway North station ready for service beginning on Monday, March 4.

We encourage those who ride MAX Blue, Green and Red lines to use alternative modes of transportation during the disruption. MAX will not serve the Gateway Transit Center while construction is taking place, with MAX Blue and Green lines disrupted and MAX Red Line suspended. Fixed-route and shuttle buses will continue to serve the transit center, however. Elsewhere, mainly along Interstate 84, contractors will use the closure as an opportunity to make improvements to our oldest part of the MAX system.

The work will be the last piece of a yearslong effort to rebuild segments of the MAX Red Line near the Gateway Transit Center and PDX. This part of the Better Red MAX Extension and Reliability project will improve train movement between the transit center and airport by adding another track to previously single-tracked sections. It also includes new bridges and a new MAX station for inbound trains heading toward City Center, which will be located just north of the transit center. The bridges, along with the new station, will be mostly completed and in use when trains resume regular service on Monday, March 4. 


Stay informed and plan ahead

As the connection point for three MAX lines and seven bus lines, the Gateway Transit Center is a major hub of transit activity. Due to the complexity of the work, riders will notice more shuttle buses than during previous projects, and in some cases, riders will need to transfer from one shuttle bus to another to make connections.

We encourage riders to use alternative modes of transportation during the project if they can. Bus lines 12, 15, 19, 20 and 77 can be used as alternatives for some MAX trips, but they may experience higher ridership as a result of the project. LIFT Paratransit and the Columbia Gorge Express will also continue to serve the Gateway Transit Center.

Here’s how the MAX Blue, Green and Red lines will be affected:

  • MAX Blue Line: MAX Blue Line will operate between Hatfield Government Center and NE 7th Ave, as well as E 102nd Ave and Cleveland Ave. Trains will arrive about every 15 minutes throughout most of the day. Shuttle buses will serve stations between NE 7th Ave and E 102nd Ave, departing every seven minutes. Connect to shuttle buses to PDX or SE Main St at Gateway.
  • MAX Green Line: MAX Green Line will operate between Clackamas Town Center and SE Main St. These will be single-car trains due to their shortened travel distance and the impacts of the project. They will arrive every 15 minutes. Shuttle buses will travel between SE Main St and the Gateway Transit Center every 15 minutes as well.
  • MAX Red Line: MAX Red Line will not operate during the disruption. For trips toward Portland International Airport, board a MAX Blue Line train, then take a shuttle bus to the Gateway Transit Center. At Gateway, exit and transfer to a shuttle bus to the airport. These shuttle buses will depart every 15 minutes.

MAX Orange and Yellow lines will be operating on regular schedules during the disruption. With MAX Green Line being shortened, riders heading to Portland State University can board Yellow Line trains at Interstate/Rose Quarter.

Look ahead and start planning

We apologize for the inconvenience! We know disruptions can be challenging, but they are necessary, an investment in the long-term reliability of our rail system that lead to major reliability investments down the road. By doing this work, we will reduce the need for further disruptions along this stretch of the MAX system for many years. You’ll be able to plan ahead. Right now, you can visit our disruption page at trimet.org/improvements to view videos on how the shuttle buses will run and to learn more information about the project.

At Gateway and select stations, we will have customer service personnel to help you. Also, look for directional signs at shuttle bus locations and watch for the destination signs on buses to make sure you’re boarding the right one. 

A Better Red plus other improvements

Not only will the disruption end with the completion of a major Better Red milestone, there will be other improvements. This type of construction project provides an opportunity to make upgrades within areas of the system closed to train traffic, making it less likely that we’ll have to do this work in the future.

In addition to the work at Gateway, TriMet will replace around 9,000 wooden rail ties with more durable concrete ones, and we’ll install 14,000 feet of new rail, including curved rail at NE 97th Ave. This part of the system is part of the original MAX Blue Line and has been in near-constant use for the past 37 years. 

Closing sections of the system for rail improvements also provides a chance to remove litter and graffiti in the MAX right of way, which can be challenging during regular service or the brief overnight window when trains aren’t running.   

A Better Red

Thank you for your understanding and patience! We are now about 85% done with the entire A Better Red MAX Extension and Reliability Project. Once it’s fully completed next summer, riders will have a one-seat trip between Hillsboro Airport and PDX — an extension of the MAX Red Line by 10 new stations west! Improvements around Gateway and the airport — including the addition of a second track, a rebuilt PDX station and a new Red Line station north of Gateway for inbound trains heading into Downtown Portland — will improve reliability across the entire system. 

For more information about A Better Red, go to trimet.org/betterred