Portland, Oregon is known for being a green city, and projects large and small continue to showcase how cutting edge it tries to be when it comes to sustainability. One of the latest involves the region’s light rail system, which has announced a so called “eco-track” along part of the line of a new transit project going in.

The Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project, according to regional transit agency Trimet, will play host to a “vegetated trackway” along 200 feet of light rail line on either side of a new station platform in the city’s core. The green treatment of this section of rail is among the first of its kind in the United States and will help reduce stormwater runoff.

image via Trimet
image via Trimet

Similar to green trackways which already exist in Europe, the Portland installation is comprised of 1” thick mats with various sedum species. These plants are considered hardy and low maintenance vegetation and are commonly used on eco-roofs. They will be irrigated with a drip watering system “for establishment then irrigated on an as-needed basis.”

The transit project this eco-track is tied to is the Portland region’s sixth such construction project and will stretch 7.3 miles from the city center into a city in a neighboring county. It will consist of 10 stations once complete by mid-2015, expanding the light rail system to 60 miles and 97 stations. One key feature is a “first of its kind multi-modal bridge that will carry light rail, buses, bikes, pedestrians and a future Portland Streetcar extension, but no private vehicles.”

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