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Oregon Selects HDR to Upgrade Portland's Burnside Bridge

Wed November 29, 2023 - West Edition #25
HDR Inc.

(Oregon Public Broadcasting photo)
(Oregon Public Broadcasting photo)

Multnomah County has chosen HDR as the prime consultant to perform final design services for the Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge project. Located in the heart of downtown Portland, Ore., the $895 million project will replace a nearly century-old structure with a new and seismically resilient bridge designed to have a 100-year service life and high functionality for users.

The current bridge crosses the Willamette River and serves approximately 45,000 vehicles a day, plus thousands more pedestrians and bicyclists. Located in a dense urban area, numerous project constraints complicate the replacement effort. The new, 2,200-ft. long bridge will cross not just the river, but nine interstate lanes, two railroad tracks, two light rail lines and multiple community amenities. A movable bascule span will allow river traffic to pass through with unlimited clearance. The bridge will include four lanes, a combined bicycle path and pedestrian space and it will be designed to accommodate future Portland Streetcar loads.

The bridge and Burnside Street are an official emergency transportation route and the bridge is the county's only non-freeway river crossing designated for use in an emergency. A stringent seismic design criteria will ensure the bridge is functional during and after the imminent Magnitude 8+ Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

To improve collaboration with the selected contractor, the project will be delivered using the construction manager/general contractor method. HDR will work closely with the contractor to deliver a constructable, efficient design that effectively manages all risks.

"As a Portland resident, I'm honored to work on what will be a landmark for the city," said HDR Project Manager Steve Drahota. "And as an engineer, I'm excited to lead a collaborative team to successfully deliver this technically complex structure. I've been working on different phases of the Burnside Bridge project for more than a decade, and crossing the completed bridge will be a highlight of my career."

About HDR

HDR's expertise spans more than 12,000 employees in more than 200 locations around the world — and counting. Its engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring a breadth of knowledge to every project.

For more information, visit

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