NV5 - Portland Aerial Tram

Portland Aerial Tram

NV5 conducted geotechnical investigations for the schematic and design development phases of the aerial tram in Portland, Oregon, which runs between the main Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) medical campus and the South Waterfront District.

The upper terminal consists of a 175-foot, steel substructure encased in a translucent photovoltaic glass shell supported by a foundation system anchored into the underlying basalt formation. The lower landing terminal houses the tram mechanical system underground. The tower support structure extends 185 feet high and is anchored into the underlying gravel formation. Each of the two tram cars weighs 13,195 pounds and has a carrying capacity of 13,260 pounds, for a total loaded weight of just over 13 tons.

The tram cars, made in Switzerland, are named Jean & Walt after the first female engineering graduate from Oregon State University (Jean Richardson) and the first African American graduate from OHSU (Walt Reynolds).

NV5 provided engineering analysis for the project and performed monitoring during installation of the structure foundations. We performed lateral load and deflection testing of small diameter drilled piers socketed in bedrock, and performed drilled shaft bottom inspection using our custom-made drilled shaft inspection camera.


Portland, OR


Geotechnical & Foundation Engineering