(VIDEO) Six-week MAX disruption begins Sunday as TriMet takes leap toward completing 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.

Riders can plan ahead now, as MAX Blue, Green and Red line trains will return to regular service on Monday, March 4

Construction on TriMet’s A Better Red MAX Extension and Reliability Improvements Project will close the Gateway Transit Center to MAX trains for six weeks. With the MAX Blue, Green and Red lines impacted, shuttle buses will serve closed stations through the end of the disruption on March 3, with regular service returning on March 4. TriMet will also use this opportunity to perform reliability improvements to the MAX system along Interstate 84 and just east of the transit center.

MAX Blue and Green line service will be disrupted for the duration of the project. MAX Red Line service will be temporarily suspended. That means no MAX Red Line service from mid-January and through February. Riders should consider other transportation options during the disruption, if possible, including TriMet’s regular bus service.

What riders need to know               

  • MAX Blue Line: The Blue Line will be split into two sections. Trains will operate between Hatfield Govt. Center in Hillsboro and NE 7th Ave in Portland as well as between E 102nd Ave and Cleveland Ave in Gresham. Shuttle buses will replace trains between NE 7th Ave and E 102nd Ave.
  • MAX Green Line: Green Line trains will only travel between Clackamas Town Center Transit Center and SE Main St. Shuttle buses for the Green Line will take riders between SE Main St and Gateway Transit Center. At Gateway, riders continuing west toward Downtown Portland will need to board shuttle buses heading to NE 7th Ave. In Downtown Portland, there will be no Green Line trains running, so riders should use MAX Orange and Yellow lines or regular bus service along the Transit Mall on 5th and 6th avenues.
  • MAX Red Line: Red Line service will not operate during the disruption. Riders can still use the MAX Blue Line for trips between Beaverton Transit Center and NE 7th Ave and shuttle buses for trips between NE 7th Ave and Gateway Transit Center. For trips to and from the airport, shuttle buses will run between Gateway and PDX, and they will serve all stations along the way.
  • MAX Orange and Yellow lines: MAX Orange and Yellow line service will not be affected by the project, and trains will operate on regular schedules.

We are grateful for your continued patience and cooperation as we work on this critical phase of construction. When regular MAX service resumes on March 4, there will be a new MAX Red Line station called Gateway North serving inbound Red Line riders. Red Line trains will use the new bridges and track that construction crews have spent more than two years building. Adding this new station at Gateway will improve train movement at this busy connection point for three MAX lines, enhancing reliability across the entire system by reducing delays and making trips from the airport into Downtown Portland more efficient.

Tips for riding

  • Consider using alternative modes of transportation during the project. As much as we want to welcome you on board, we expect shuttle buses to be more crowded during this phase of the project.
  • Consider using regular bus service. You can easily plan your trip and track your bus at trimet.org.
  • Plan at least an extra 60 minutes for your trips.
  • Follow us on social media. We have several social media accounts that can keep you informed with the latest developments, news and service information. Follow us on Instagram, @TriMet on X (formerly Twitter) and on Facebook. We also post timely service information on X @trimetalerts, and you can even message your questions to @trimethelp.
  • Sign up to receive Service Alerts and information about A Better Red sent directly to your phone or email at trimet.org/email.
  • Bus lines serving the Gateway Transit Center and stops near MAX lines will likely see increased ridership during the disruption. While buses may be fuller than you’re used to, please remember to make the priority seating area available to seniors and people with disabilities.

Better Red – building progress

Disruptions are sometimes necessary for large-scale projects, as they give crews the room needed to work safely and around the clock. Construction of TriMet’s A Better Red project began in 2021 with the goal of delivering important track improvements between the Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport, as well as extending the Red Line into Hillsboro. These will improve reliability on the MAX Red Line, while helping keep trains running on time throughout the entire MAX light rail system.

The project has been made possible thanks to a $99.9 million construction grant from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is covering a substantial portion of the approximately $215 million cost. With Better Red now 85% complete, it has delivered on its promise of investing in workforce development and transportation improvements that will contribute to the region’s carbon emissions goals.

Through 2023, more than 406,000 work-hours have been spent on construction activities, making A Better Red among Oregon’s largest civil construction project currently and TriMet’s most substantial light rail project since the MAX Orange Line opened in 2015. Over the course of more than two years, 400 tons of new rail have been installed along with 4,400 new concrete ties, all of which have been procured within the United States.

Since getting underway, the project has reshaped the MAX Red Line, with new bridges fortified over I-84 by 1.3 million pounds of structural steel and 63,000 square feet of retaining walls constructed. Riders are already enjoying new features, including the updated Portland International Airport MAX Station and the second track installed near it.

The multi-year project remains on schedule, with the extension to Hillsboro opening in late August 2024. For more information on the project, visit trimet.org/bettered.