TriMet’s MAX Red Line Project Enters Second Phase of Work

Written by Kyra Senese, Managing Editor
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Construction on TriMet's A Better Red MAX Extension and Reliability Project has reached a major milestone more than a year and four months after it broke ground.

The project is now more than halfway complete and is entering the second phase of work on time and on budget.

A Better Red is TriMet’s most significant light rail construction project since the MAX Orange Line opened in 2015. Construction is expected to be completed in 2024, with the line scheduled to open that same year, TriMet said. The project will, in part, extend the MAX Red Line west to serve 10 additional stations in Beaverton and Hillsboro.

The project also aims to enhance the flow of train traffic with the addition of a second track near the Gateway Transit Center and Portland International Airport. A new station will also be dedicated to westbound MAX Red Line service: the Gateway North station, located about 500 feet north of the existing transit center. TriMet expects that the additional track and the new station will improve schedule reliability for the entire MAX system. 

So far, the substructures of two new light rail bridges north of the Gateway Transit Center have been built. Last fall, steel girders were installed on a bridge spanning I-84, and concrete girders were attached to a second bridge being built over existing MAX tracks, TriMet said. The Oregon-based agency has also moved and added components to the trackway to make space for the new structures, including work to relocate a 200-foot section of track in March 2022.

Crews have also been working in Washington County and near Portland International Airport, in addition to constructing new retaining walls, bridges, and moving components of TriMet’s track and light rail system north of the Gateway Transit Center.

Crews improved parts of the MAX system near the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport MAX Station in November of 2022, paving the way for future work. A new 680-square-foot facility is also being built at the station to provide operators and other field staff with a place to take breaks at what will be the MAX Red Line’s new western terminus.

The new and improved MAX Red Line service will begin operations in 2024. The Federal Transit Administration awarded a $99.9 million construction grant to the project, which covers a significant portion of the overall cost of $215 million, TriMet said.