Gresham MAX Improvements

Sep 9, 2019


From Sunday, September 22 through Saturday, October 5, we’ll be working on the MAX Blue Line between Rockwood/E 188th Ave and Cleveland Ave stations. During these two weeks, trains will turn around at Rockwood/E 188th Ave, with shuttle buses covering the last five stops on the line.

If you take MAX Blue Line to or from one of the closed stops, plan an extra 15 minutes for your commute. Blue Line will still run on its regular schedule, and no other MAX lines will be affected. Make sure you check out our Gresham MAX Improvements page to help plan your trip through the closure, including where to catch those shuttle buses.


What’s the plan?

MAX Blue Line out to Gresham was our very first light rail line. And after over 30 years of service, we’re giving this stretch of tracks the TLC it needs to run for another three decades (and more). 

The work we’re doing on this project will span 2.3 miles and go from 9 feet underground to 19 feet in the air. We’ll be working on 7 rail crossings, 3 sections of restricted trackway, about 1 mile of overhead wire and 4 MAX stations.

Here’s what we hope to accomplish:

Install new and improved rail ties and crossings

MAX Blue Line is still running on its original wood ties from the mid-1980s. We’ll be replacing those, and in the sections that receive the most wear, we’ll upgrade them from wooden ties to more durable concrete ties or new wooden ties where necessary.

We’ll also be replacing the rubber and asphalt that holds the rails in place. Not only will this give riders a smoother ride and help reduce the wear and tear on our trains, it will make crossing MAX tracks less bumpy for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Replace and reroute signal cables

If you’ve been to the Cleveland Ave station recently, you may have noticed work has already started. We’ve been updating the signal system, which keeps trains running on time. During the disruption, we’ll be able to dig under the tracks to reroute and install new signal cables over to the new building we’re constructing in the southwest corner of the Park & Ride. This building is going to serve as a hub for our updated signal and communications system.

We’re also adding a new building in the southeast corner that will be home to an  expanded break area for our operators once the Division Transit Project is completed.

Replace switches and overhead wire

MAX Blue Line has been a staple for commuters in the Portland area since its unveiling in 1986. To make sure that it stays that way, we’re updating the switch machines, which control the switches that move trains from one track to another. We’ll also replace a nearly one-mile long section of overhead wire.

Clean and restore station areas

To top it all off, we’re sprucing up four of the five closed stations. We’ll be deep cleaning the platforms, as well as replacing lights, repairing damaged tactile pavers (those bumpy, yellow squares at crossings) and touching up some paint.

Our crews will be working between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., though it’s possible that they will run long some days. There will be several lane closures during this time that might disturb car and bicycle traffic as well. Making Transit Better

We know service disruptions can be a hassle, and we appreciate your patience as we make these important updates to MAX Blue Line. This work is just one of the many ways we’re working to make transit better

For more details on shuttle routes and road closures, head over to our Gresham MAX Improvements page.

Alyssa Flynn

Alyssa Flynn


Spends her free time reading and going to bar trivia, and gets her best ideas while riding the bus. | All posts

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