The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has approved the 7.3-mile Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project to enter into Final Design. This allows the project to be developed from its current 30 percent design to 100 percent design. Final Design is expected to last about a year.
“This approval means that the region’s top transit priority stays on schedule as it moves closer to construction,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane.
Following Final Design, TriMet expects to sign a contract with the federal government for their commitment to fund 50 percent of the project. That contract, formally called a Full Funding Grant Agreement, is expected to be signed by mid 2012. Once signed, the project moves into full construction.
Due to the limited construction windows in the Willamette River due to migrating fish, the FTA has approved early construction work on the project’s light rail bridge. The “fish window” allows in-river work from July through October. Bridge construction is set to begin on July 1, 2011.
Up to 14,000 jobs will be created during the construction of the project.
The $1.49 billion project is the sixth MAX line to be built, extending 7.3-miles from the terminus of the MAX Green and Yellow lines at Portland State University to South Waterfront, SE Portland, Milwaukie and Park Avenue in Clackamas County.
It includes the light rail bridge over the Willamette River that will carry MAX, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension. The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Project is set to open in September 2015.