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
Alignment W1 is located at the far west edge of the project area, adjacent to the Portland and Western Railroad facility. The north end of the path connects to the west shoulder of SW Boones Ferry Road in Boones Ferry Park. The south end of the path connects to NE Butteville Road opposite the Boones Ferry Boat Launch parking lot.
The path through the W1 alignment corridor is approximately 2,000 feet long. The main span crossing of the Willamette River is approximately 750 feet in length. The total bridge length, including approach spans, is anticipated to be approximately 1,200 feet long. Retaining walls are anticipated to minimize property impacts at both ends of the alignment.
Alignment W2 is located roughly in the middle of the project area. The north end of the path connects to the south shoulder of SW Tauchman Street east of SW Magnolia Avenue. The south end of the path connects to NE Butteville Road south of NE River Vista Lane.
The path through the W2 alignment corridor is approximately 1,900 feet long. The main span crossing of the Willamette River is approximately 700 feet in length. The total bridge length, including approach spans, is anticipated to be approximately 1,200 feet long. Retaining walls are anticipated to minimize property impacts at both ends of the alignment.
Alignment W3 is located at the far east edge of the project area. The north end of the path connects to the south shoulder of SW Tauchman Street at the entrance to the waste water treatment plant. The south end of the path connects NE Butteville Road, well south of NE River Vista Lane.
The path through the W3 alignment corridor is approximately 2,550 feet long. The main span crossing of the Willamette River is approximately 800 feet in length. The total bridge length, including approach spans, is anticipated to be approximately 1,000 feet long. The second bridge is approximately 140 feet long. Retaining walls are anticipated to minimize property impacts at the north end of the alignment.
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)