Willamette River Bridge and Oregon's new trains to be celebrated in two events

July 18, 2013                                                                                                    For More Information:

                          Rick Little, Public Information Officer, (541) 726-2442 or (541) 505-2069 (mobile)

Two celebrations, one goal: Improved travel options for Oregonians

--Interstate 5 bridge opening ceremony: Whilamut Passage Bridge

--Ribbon-cutting will officially “welcome” Oregon’s new 13-car trainsets


EUGENE-SPRINGFIELD—The Oregon Department of Transportation is hosting two special celebrations on Friday, July 26, with numerous representatives from local, state, regional and national organizations expected on hand, all to commemorate completion of projects that improve and expand travel options for Oregonians.


Opening of the Whilamut Passage Bridge

This is a celebration of the new Interstate 5 bridge over the Willamette River. (The northbound bridge will open in August.) 


Congressman Peter DeFazio, Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez, ODOT Director Matthew Garrett and other distinguished guests will celebrate the completion of the Interstate 5 Whilamut Passage Bridge.

  • After the ceremony, official guests and news media are invited to walk part of the new northbound bridge to view the project and surrounding parklands and one of the design enhancements under construction.
  • To access the bridge, you must wear appropriate closed-toe shoes and be able to climb six flights of stairs.


  • Friday, July 26, at 10 a.m.


  • The Whilamut Natural Area of Alton Baker Park, west of the new I-5 bridge.


  • The I-5 Whilamut Passage Bridge is the largest project in ODOT’s statewide OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program. Replacing this critical bridge will enhance the primary north-south commuter and freight corridor for the West Coast.

Getting there for media: 

Media parking and shuttle service to the event will be available at the Hamilton Construction Co. project office at 3001 Franklin Blvd. Please RSVP to reserve a parking spot and shuttle ride.


“Welcome to Oregon, new trains!” ribbon-cutting and celebration

We will officially welcome Oregon’s first state-owned regular passenger service trains with a ribbon-cutting, guest speakers, refreshments, giveaways and “sneak peeks” at one of the new 13-car trainsets.


Congressman Peter DeFazio, State Representative Nancy Nathanson, Eugene City Mayor Kitty Piercy (who also chairs the Oregon Passenger Rail Leadership Committee), ODOT Director Matthew Garrett and other distinguished guests will celebrate the addition of Oregon’s own trains, manufactured by Talgo, to the Amtrak Cascades corridor.

  • After the ribbon-cutting, we will allow brief tours of the trainset, subject to availability of the train on the tracks (arrival/departure of other trains).


  • Friday, July 26, at 2:30 p.m.


  • Eugene Amtrak station, 433 Willamette St.


  • Oregon purchased its own trains to preserve passenger rail service in the Willamette Valley and to position the state for improved service in the future. These Talgo Series 8 trains are the only ones operating in the world!

Parking for media: 

  • Several spots will be reserved for media to park at the Oregon Electric Station, next to the Amtrak Station.

Parking for the public: 

  • FREE parking is available at the Hult Center garage at Seventh and Olive, second floor and above.

For more event information, visit http://oregontalgotrains.eventbrite.com/.


For more information about the new Whilamut Passage Bridge, please visit www.willamettebridge.org and the project’s blog at: http://willametteriverbridge.blogspot.com/. 


# # ODOT # #

The OTIA III State Bridge Delivery Program is part of the Oregon Department of Transportation’s $3 billion Oregon Transportation Investment Act. OTIA funds are repairing or replacing hundreds of bridges, paving and maintaining city and county roads, improving and expanding interchanges, adding new capacity to Oregon’s highway system and removing freight bottlenecks statewide. Based on recent estimates, about 12.5 family-wage jobs are sustained for every $1 million spent on transportation construction in Oregon. Through 2012, the bridge program has sustained more than 20,000 jobs. Overall, the program will create or sustain approximately 22,000 jobs.