French Prairie Bridge ProjectAbout the Project
The French Prairie Bridge Project, led by the City of Wilsonville, will plan and develop preliminary designs for a proposed bicycle/pedestrian/emergency-access bridge across the Willamette River in Wilsonville.
The bridge location under consideration is at the approximate site of the historic Boones Ferry, located between the I-5 Boone Bridge and the existing railroad bridge to the west.
Filling a gap in regional transportation infrastructure
The French Prairie Bridge would fill a critical gap in local and regional multi-modal transportation infrastructure, connecting the Portland metro area and the northern portion of the Willamette Valley, known as the French Prairie region.
Currently, the only bridge crossing in a 30-mile stretch of the Willamette River in the south Portland metro area is the I-5 Boone Bridge. The shoulder of the Boone Bridge serves as the only accessible bridge crossing by foot or bike. This frequently congested bridge carries over 120,000 vehicles every day—nearly a third of which are large trucks—and provides cyclists and pedestrians with no separation from traffic.
In instances where there is an accident or other traffic disruption, back-ups on I-5 can impact emergency response time and secondary responders working to clear the road can have difficulty getting to the accident site.
Addressing local connectivity
The French Prairie Bridge Project is the result of community conversations and planning efforts that identified the need for a safe bicycle and pedestrian crossing of the Willamette River more than 20 years ago. Learn more about the Project History.
This safe bike/pedestrian crossing would improve connectivity to both planned bike/ped trails and existing roads. An interconnected bike/ped system would provide a seamless route connecting the Portland-area Intertwine Trail Network and Ice Age Tonquin Trail with the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway. It would also provide an alternative to I-5 for residents south of the river who commute to Wilsonville for work.
Bridge Alignments Under Consideration
Key Project Benefits
- Provide an alternate route for emergency services to access either side of communities along the Willamette River when I-5 is impeded.
- Provide a route for secondary responders working to clear accidents or other incidents on I-5 by reducing the time to clear disruptions and get traffic moving again.
- Provide a seismically resilient route to support post-earthquake responses and recovery efforts.
- Fill a gap in bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure, connecting communities south of the Willamette River with access to Wilsonville employers and SMART and Tri-Met WES commuter-rail transit options.
- Improve access to parks and natural areas.
- Connect the planned Portland metro-area Ice Age Tonquin Trail with the 132-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway that extends south to Eugene.
- Benefit southwest Portland metro suburbs by providing a connection with the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, the most heavily trafficked bikeway in the state, which generated $3.14 million in bike tourism spending in 2014 (Source: Travel Oregon – July 2015)
- Fulfill a key strategy identified in the 2014 Wilsonville Tourism Development Strategy (Source: City of Wilsonville)