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Study shows CRC project could cost up to $10 billion (not $3.6)

Posted by on October 15th, 2010 at 11:50 am

CRC Rally-132
You might want to ask for
twice that much.
(Photo © J. Maus)

CRC project staff and Departments of Transportation in both Oregon and Washington have been putting the estimated cost of the new I-5 bridge and highway expansion project at about $3.6 billion; but a new study shows that the the project could end up costing as much as $10 billion.

The report was commissioned by Plaid Pantry CEO Chris Girard and the research was done by economist Joe Cortright for Impresa, Inc. Here’s an excerpt by Girard taken from the report’s cover letter (emphasis mine):

The report documents the unfortunate fact that the proposed CRC project’s real costs are more than double the widely-accepted figure of $3.6 billion. In reality the current design for the project will cost in the range of $8 billion to $10 billion, or more, and there is no available source of revenue to pay for it. The financing plan is a guess at best, and the revenue projections are significantly flawed with bad assumptions and unacceptable risk at every step. The numbers and analysis underpinning this project simply do not add up to a happy ending.

The Portland Mercury has a must-read Q & A about the study with Cortright that lays out all the details into plain English.

While reading about the report, I recalled another local bridge project where budget concerns loomed large. Back in May 2008, during a heated campaign for Mayor, then Transportation Commissioner (now Mayor) Sam Adams pulled the plug on a project that would have re-used the Sauvie Island Bridge and turned it into a biking and walking-only bridge over I-405 in downtown Portland at Flanders Street.

Amid rising controversy, Adams decided to scrap the project the day before it was set to go in front of City Council for a vote, telling BikePortland that he decided he couldn’t go forward with it because he couldn’t “provide reasonable assurance” that the project could be completed within the budget ceiling of $5.5 million he had guaranteed.

I realize the Sauvie/Flanders Bridge project is not even in the same league as the CRC; but I wonder… if Cortright’s analysis proves to be solid (and I suspect we’ll hear a response about it from the DOTs soon), will politicians who are on the fence about it be able to use budget concerns as a convenient way to pull support? Time will tell.

Download the study and read the interview with Cortright on The Portland Mercury website.

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Comments
  • Duncan October 15, 2010 at 11:52 am

    what I do not understand about the CRC is that if we have no money for schools or roads- why the hell do we have 10 Billion for a bridge?

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  • Dave October 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    well, we don’t. it’s just that we’re willing to borrow 10 billion for a bridge.

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  • BURR October 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    I still don’t understand why we need to replace a perfectly good bridge.

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  • Gregg Woodlawn October 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    But if we don’t build a 10 billion dollar bridge to replace our perfectly good bridge that we have now, how can the company that would build it make a ton of money?

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  • Red Five October 15, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Because Vantucky demands it!

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  • Andrew Seger October 15, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    I’m with BURR, never understood this project. I understand the conflict with the rail bridge & the misplaced lifts that cause ships problems, but since we need to expand the tracks through that area of portland why wont we spend the money on that? Ditto with some of the alternative suggestions like building a bridge just to Hayden island & closing the on ramps (sorry big box stores).

    Very glad to see reporters asking hard questions about this disaster.

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  • Steve October 15, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t doubt that it will cost more than the CRC estimate as the Mercury article said. My problem is with the estimate that traffic volumes will decrease. Sounds like they’re basing their traffic estimates on current economic times, which have halted growth and reduced employment. Nobody knows when we’ll recover, but my bet is that in two years we’ll be back on the economic growth cycle and traffic volumes will be, too.

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  • matt picio October 15, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I find it encouraging that local business owners are now asking the same questions. CRC will cost Plaid Pantry a lot of money (partly through the effects tolling will have on deliveries and their employees, and partly through taxes) and convenience store chains aren’t exactly high-margin businesses, they can’t absorb a lot of extraneous costs before running into financial trouble. Fewer VMT means less business, so adding an expensive bridge to the mix, which would add taxes and remove more customers through a further reduction in VMT would be a “one-two punch” for them.

    More evidence that CRC is no longer appropriate for the region, if indeed it ever was from the start.

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  • Joe Rowe October 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Vote for Bob Stacey for Metro President. If not, the $10 million CRC will be soon approved by Democrats in Salem.

    We’re not dumb. The Tram estimate was 20 million, and final cost was 70 million. Yearly we spend 1.7 million to run it.

    The CRC is gonna cost us so much we can’t even grasp it yet. Most homes in North Portland will fall in value. Each morning there’s a Southbound traffic jam that goes from OMSI back to Lombard. Adding 3 lanes behind the jam means more cars on streets with homes.

    OMG. WTF.

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  • q`Tzal October 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Until we fix the cause and not the symptom this will never be resolved.
    We can throw all the money in the world building more capacity and the problem will only get worse.

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  • Racer X October 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    Plaid Pantry CEO Chris Girard come out against more roadway capacity…hmmm….I guess we will see more covered bike parking (and less car parking) at Plaid Pantrys in the future?! I give him credit if so.

    Now that Vancouver’s City Center has a new Plaid Pantry (old Day & Nite store)…there is NO reason to cross the river. ;-)

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  • Whyat October 15, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    I still don’t understand why we need to replace a perfectly good bridge.

    Good bridge? Have you ever been over it? It’s awful (both the bridge and the connections). I’m not saying the current CRC plan is good. But let’s not be naive and pretend the current bridge is anything close to ‘good’.

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  • Jim Lee October 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    OK. CRC is dead meat.

    Now will some of you help me advertise that Matt Garrett’s and Mike Pullen’s $330 million fiasco proposal for a new bridge at Sellwood is a similar boondoggle for the construction industry?

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  • BURR October 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    @ Whyat #12. By ‘good’ I mean structurally sound.

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  • Stig October 15, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    We need this bridge to further increase and subsidize unsustainable transportation. The more it costs, the more jobs it will create. This is pure pork, which means massive economic benefit.

    Whether we’re getting 1 bridge or 3 for $10 Billion, this is undoubtedly a good deal for all those who would benefit, especially our financing banks.

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  • Captured Shadow October 15, 2010 at 3:06 pm

    8-10 billion is the amount we spend in Afghanistan every month. Maybe we could cut the war short by a month and use the savings to buy a bridge.

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  • q`Tzal October 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    #13 Jim Lee

    The I-35 bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis had a sufficiency rating of 50 while the Sellwood Bridge has a sufficiency rating of only 2 on a scale of 100.

    So while the current Interstate Bridge rates as 35 out of 100.

    There are extreme structural and safety issues with the Sellwood Bridge that do not exist with the Interstate Bridge.

    Of course we could let all infrastructure collapse; it costs nothing to do nothing. At least at first.

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  • BURR October 15, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    @ Stig #15: If we’re going to stimulate the economy with transportation infrastructure projects, I’d much rather see interurban high speed rail projects than this stupid monument to single occupancy vehicle trips anyday.

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  • Jim Lee October 15, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    #17 q’Tzal

    Multco’s original estimate for replacement of the Sellwood was $80 million, which checks out in comparison with other projects, for example, replacing Sauvie Island ($38 million), TriMet’s new transit-bike-ped span ($130 million).

    When Mike Pullen (Multco’s PR guy) and Matt Garrett (ODOT”s director) took over the costs mysteriously ballooned by a factor of four. Do you really want to pay $134 million–more than TriMet’s entire bridge–for an interchange alone at the west end of Sellwood?

    David Bragdon called ODOT “bunglers” over CRC. Pullen and Garrett are playing the same game at Sellwood: find a bridge that needs replacing then bloat the project out of all proportion to maximize costs.

    The construction interests get the money and we get hosed.

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  • old&slow October 15, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    The 10 billion number is bogus.
    Whether we need it or not is one thing, to throw out ridiculous estimates is another.
    10 billion is the “big dig” cost in Boston.
    10 billion is the cost of the San Francisco-Oakland bay bridge.
    There is no way that can be even close, the 4 billion number sounds really high.
    I work in the bridge building business, the Port Mann bridge in Vancouver BC that is being built as we speak is twice as long, much bigger and is costing 2 billion.
    Numbers like the one you were gullible to post was put out for pure propaganda reasons and you, like most of the “new media”, promptly posted it without reservation regarding it’s accuracy.
    Nice job.

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  • 9watts October 15, 2010 at 6:27 pm

    Mr. old&slow: if the *proponents* are predicting $3.6 billion then something about your comparative figures which suggest +/-$1 billion seems fishy. Or maybe Canadians keep better track of their pork?

    $10 billion, $4 billion, $2 billion…we apparently don’t have any of these amounts, and will likely need (to borrow) millions and billions down the road to reconfigure our infrastructure to work better without fossil fuels, so if the $10B figure draws more attention to the folly of expanding the parts of our infrastructure whose sole premise and purpose is expansion and perpetuation of fossil fuel use, that seems fine to me.

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  • old&slow October 15, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    9watts, there is big difference between 10 and 4 billion, it is not just +/- a billion.
    I do think infrastructure spending is money well spent and although you must feel really superior with your “green views”, that are not well thought out, just bumper stickers about “fossil fuel” use, etc., maybe you should educate yourself a bit.
    The “greenest” countries these days (Denmark, etc.,) have really well thought out infrastructure that realizes that there is a need for transportation and good infrastructive and clogged bridges and freeways are fuel wasting and polluting.
    Another moron moment on the internet.
    How much “fossil fuel” is wasted by motorists driving 10 mph on I-5?
    Idiot.

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  • George Hayduke October 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Die, CRC, die! Seriously, this is the best news I’ve heard all week. Build a second bridge right next to the perfectly good one, and make the new bridge for people, not cars.

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  • Jim Lee October 15, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    old&slow #20

    Cost of replacing the Interstate bridges OF THEMSELVES would be about $800 million, maybe less. The bloat comes from rebuilding several miles of freeway on the Washington side, which is totally unnecessary–Matt Garrett’s standard M.O.

    These numbers for the bridge alone comport with your costs for the project in B.C.

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  • old&slow October 15, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    Jim, I agree with you, the 10 billion figure is the one I think is ridiculous.
    Jonathan posts about half of my posts, apparently calling out morons here is against the rules.
    The point I tried to make in a post which did not get posted here (it is his website), is that the figure was just propaganda and it was posted as “news”.
    I tried to respond to 9watts that it might feel good to be against the CRC because it is for cars and therefore is bad for the environment, but if the master here lets me speak, i will say that having
    congestion and daily backups on the freeway system causes a lot more fossil fuel use that an efficient freeway/bridge system.
    We don’t need to spend 10 billion to get that but the hysterical internet forces here seem to think that doing nothing is a better “green” solution and they don’t know what they are talking about.

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  • Jeff Bernards October 16, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Driving 10 mph causes excessive greenhouse gases, but tons of concrete & steel create tons of greenhouse gases too. I’m thinking it’s probably a 15-20 year payback,in CO2 savings, maybe. Peak oil will probably have secured a spot in our everyday lives by then (I hope!). You Plan for the future not the present. I can’t believe they think a $1 or so toll is sufficient, to cover billions in costs, it’s now $6 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. If you like the study, send Chris Girard a thank you Email, when small business puts up their money for things like this they need to be congratulated. Small business’s are struggling now, it’s very commendable what he did.

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  • Stochelo October 16, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Okay, so why won’t the chickenshit legislators in Salem and Olympia simultaneously raise both states’ gasoline taxes by $1/gallon to pay for this, and for little trifles like the Sellwood Bridge?

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  • 9watts October 16, 2010 at 9:21 am

    old&slow @ 22
    “there is big difference between 10 and 4 billion, it is not just +/- a billion.”

    Your comparison to the Vancouver bridge which is twice as long as the planned CRC at $2B suggested to me you thought the CRC should be +/-$1B Or that was my attempt to interpret your math.

    “I do think infrastructure spending is money well spent”
    Me too, just not infrastructure that we know will be a stranded asset in a few short years like California’s nuclear plants that no one wants to be responsible for, and the tax payers get to pay down forever. We need infrastructure to work after we’ve gotten over automobility, and infrastructure that eases this transition. The CRC plans are neither.

    “Another moron moment on the internet.
    How much “fossil fuel” is wasted by motorists driving 10 mph on I-5?
    Idiot.”

    Thanks–if that was a compliment directed at me. Fossil fuel is wasted in a million different ways. Induced demand http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Induced_demand suggests that getting traffic ‘moving again’ with a bigger bridge isn’t going to solve the congestion problem either.

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  • jim October 16, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    This sounds like another woops nuclear plant project, kind of like – we are half way done and have to quit now because there is no more money. Could you imagine 1/2 a bridge standing there never to be finished? I don’t have anyfaith in this project’s leaders. If they wanted to they could build a new bridge for a fraction of the 3 billion. Eliminate a lot of the frills, extra ramps, light rail, just build a bridge for pete’s sake, something we can afford, something we can use in the next couple of years. That bridge that fell down in minnesota (?) a few years ago has been replaced and has been in service for a while now, it was less than a billion and done fast. What ever happened to “Govt of the people”? we now have “govt over the people”, When was the last time govt. ever did anything right?

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  • Jim Lee October 16, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    I do not patronize Plaid Pantry often, but C.E.O. Chris Girard is a really nice, really smart, really tough guy, and he deserves tremendous credit–along with dear departed David Bragdon–for calling B.S. on ODOT and Matt Garrett.

    Garrett has blown $100 million on “planning” for CRC, and still Multco and PDX are buying his jive for a $334 million new bridge at Sellwood?

    I have called for his firing, and if the Oregon Transportation Commission does not do that soon we will go after them.

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  • Winnie Ruth October 16, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Hayduke lives! ¡Muera la frontera!

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  • matt picio October 16, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    old&slow (#20) – Apples and oranges. The Big Dig was over 10 years ago, construction costs have increased by a factor of 3 since then, and CRC wouldn’t break ground for at least another 3 years, by which time costs will likely go up another 50% or more.

    and (#22) – What makes you think the increase in lane capacity will alleviate congestion? The evidence shows that increased capacity tends to increase the number of trips until the system rebalances at the same level of service.

    and (#25) – The number posted is the result of a study. If you disagree with Cortwright’s analysis and the results of the study, can you provide contradicting information to prove your case? It’s easy to call any number “propaganda”, it’s harder to research and provide numbers to back that contention up.

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  • BURR October 16, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    If they wanted to they could build a new bridge for a fraction of the 3 billion. Eliminate a lot of the frills, extra ramps, light rail, just build a bridge for pete’s sake, something we can afford, something we can use in the next couple of years.

    Geez, that sounds a whole lot like the bridge WE ALREADY HAVE.

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  • Barney October 16, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Yeah, put this off for another 5 or 10 years and see what the cost is then! Sooner is cheaper, stalling will cost us all. Besides, it’s a shovel ready project, haven’t you heard of stimulus?

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  • BURR October 16, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    ‘shovel ready’. that’s good, you’ve memorized one of the buzz words!

    Ironic that Barney is either a dinosaur or a caveman (ala The Flintstones), take your pick…

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  • jim October 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    “Geez, that sounds a whole lot like the bridge WE ALREADY HAVE”

    Sounds like we don’t need that much of a new bridge. Perhaps just ad a 3rd bridge to pick up the slack, and for a fraction of the proposed cost. That would solve the traffic problem. Remember that Vancouver voted down light-rail, they don’t want it. This is another case of govt. deciding what you want and forcing you to buy it.

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  • Barney October 17, 2010 at 8:56 am

    Ooooh, don’t disagree with BURR or he’ll call you names. I guess it comes naturally enough when you seem to watch a lot of cartoons!

    I’m talking about fiscal responsibility. When you delay a project year after year you will get higher costs in the end, it’s that simple! Don’t like the sound of 4 or 10 billion, just wait a few years, it will be 20 billion!

    The shovel ready part was sarcasm. Maybe you can look the word up during a commercial.

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  • 9watts October 18, 2010 at 12:55 am

    old&slow @22

    Here;s a passage I thought you might find interesting regarding your statement: “How much “fossil fuel” is wasted by motorists driving 10 mph on I-5?
    Idiot.”

    It is taken from the book “Resilient Cities: Responding to Peak Oil and Climate Change” (p. 102):

    “Is congestion associated with higher fuel use in cities? No, on the contrary, those cities with higher congestion have lower fuel use while cities with the least congestion use the most fuel. Although individual vehicles in less congested cities are moving more efficiently they are being used much more often and for longer distances while greener modes are being used less.”

    To support this claim the authors cite Peter Newman and Jeff Kenworthy, “The Transport Energy Trade-off: Fuel Efficient Traffic vs Fuel Efficient Cities,” Transportation Research Record, 22A(3, 1988): 163-74.

    the authors continue:
    “Is removing congestion always a good thing? Not if it is attempted by increasing road capacity; car use will increase to quickly fill the newly available space.” The authors then go on to discuss London’s successful use of congestion taxes as a more effective strategy for dealing with congestion.

    “maybe you should educate yourself a bit.”
    …just taking you up on your advice.

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  • rider October 18, 2010 at 9:33 am

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If you build it it will back up. Take the Katy freeway in Houston, 18 lanes and it took only a few months before it too became a parking lot during rush hour. 18 lanes!

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  • Ethan October 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Good news . . . this might be a way to get back to a smaller and more sane (additional) bridge to carry bus, rail, ped and bike traffic into Vancouver.

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  • matthew vilhauer October 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    just rode over the current bridge and eagerly look forward to a new bridge. this antique needs to go.

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  • 9watts October 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    matthew,

    I think I know what you mean. biking around those cast iron columns is a bit awkward, especially with a trailer, but why not hang a plexiglass tube 10′ in diameter off the side for bikes? Or devise some other solution that is many many orders of magnitude cheaper, and solves the problems bike folk encounter in a matter of months rather than years/decades. Get rid of the interminable and unintuitive loop-de-loops we have to sniff out on Hayden Island and we’re set, no?

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  • JF October 18, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Did any of you read the study? The only new thing is the projected traffic count. The DOT has been projecting an increase of traffic, while this study shows a decrease. Which is correct?
    Otherwise, there is nothing new. The ‘project cost of $8-$10Billions’ is not new. That is how borrowing $4billion dollars works. Bonds pay for the project. Then eventually that money is paid back with interest to the bond buyer (generally double the money in 30-years). The ‘annualized’ cost is nothing new. (aka, $100,000 dollars borrowed at 5.5% interest over 30-years = ~$200,000 paid over the life of the loan)

    However, the toll cost based on traffic counts! The toll will be based on the projected traffic to pay back the bonds. If the toll is too high, then less people will use the bridge. If the toll is too low, then there is a risk that the bonds might not get paid back on time if projected traffic are not satisfied.

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  • Matthew Denton October 18, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    The $10B includes the cost of interest on the loans that we will have to take out to build this, and the cost of the I-5 widening at I-84, (without it, the southbound bridge is a white elephant,) and all the money tied up in operating costs, (above what we are paying now.)

    @steve #7: “My problem is with the estimate that traffic volumes will decrease. Sounds like they’re basing their traffic estimates on current economic times, which have halted growth and reduced employment. Nobody knows when we’ll recover, but my bet is that in two years”

    Somewhat, but even before the crash things were slowing down. But my bet is at least 20. Peak Oil killed the economy. Gas hit $4/gallon right before the “recession.” And all the people that said that would kill the economy, were right, (housing is the symptom not the cause,) something had to give and people are addicted to oil, where as McMansions in the suburbs are a luxury. The DOE laid all that out in 2005, (before the economy crashed,) although it didn’t get the press that it should have: http://www.netl.doe.gov/publications/others/pdf/oil_peaking_netl.pdf

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  • 9watts October 18, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    In the short run (assuming this foolishness is built and Peak Oil and Climate Change haven’t hit home yet) it seems entirely plausible that traffic across the bridge will increase, given that the objective is to make travel across it *easier* and we generally understand the relationship between the supply and demand for asphalt lane miles.

    In the medium run, let’s say 10-20 years from now, there is plausibly going to be a dramatic reduction in VMT as cheap oil fades into memory, our responsibility for wrecking our climate sinks in, and we, generally, start to freak out over our collective ability to ignore the Cassandras.

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  • matthew vilhauer October 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    9watts- a cantilevered style widening (8-10ft)of the pathways could easily be constructed for less than 2 million dollars. i learned this from bob wallis (wallis engineering in vanc.). unfortunately due to federal regulations any major changes or upgrades would need to comply with current seismic standards. if the bridge is not retrofitted to protect against earthquakes no major changes to the structure can happen with federal dollars. oregon and washington do not have the funds or political motivation to tackle such a project that would seemingly benefit only a small group (pedestrians & cyclists).

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  • jim October 19, 2010 at 10:13 am

    By the time the bridge is built, nobody is going to remember the global warming hype.

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  • pfarthing6 October 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

    It’s funny, or sad, take your pike, that these days we don’t even consider raising the money first, to see how much we can afford, and then make a builder SIGN A CONTRACT that says they will do it for that amount?

    I saw this same fiasco when they built the tram. The costs kept going up and we had to pay. What baloney is that? If any of us hired a contractor and he tried to double the cost of the contract, we’d haul his sorry butt to court and either get our money back or make him do the work required in the contract for the agree amount!

    This kind of BS government economics is one of the major things wrong in our country today. The government, our representatives, don’t have any incentive to be fiscally responsible when the majority of the citizens sit around squabbling over spending money they don’t even have.

    Now, bridges do need to get rebuilt from time to time. But guess who should be paying for that? The people that use them. So, why not enact a toll right now on the bridges that need to get replaced and start collecting money? If people can’t stomach that, then how are they going to deal with a new bridge that does require a toll? There are also bond options, where people how have faith in what the government is doing can buy them and support the project voluntarily.

    Personally, I travel over to Washington about once a year. So, I’d be happy to fork out my $5 bucks when I do.

    And if it so happens that the bridge just can’t handle so much car traffic, and that’s one of the reasons it needs replacing, fine, then limit the traffic. Have fewer cross at one time. If there REALLY is a safety concern, then people should be more than willing to deal with it. I bet you could extend the life if the bridge to double if you just cut the number of cars going across it, at the same time, in half too.

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  • Matthew Denton October 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    @pfarthing6: The whole “sign a contract” thingee misses the point. Say you hire a guy to paint your house, and he says “okay, what exactly do you want done and I’ll get you a quote.” And you and him sit in a room for a while [years in the case of the CRC] and discuss how there seems to be some dryrot in that windowsills and they may need to be replaced, and maybe you want to paint it blue, no yellow, does that change how many coats you need? Actually can you do two quotes, I need to discuss this with some other people, etc… On the CRC we haven’t signed a contract because they haven’t even figured out exactly what they are going to do yet. If they build a 10 lane vs 12 lane bridge, that has a $100M effect on the price.

    The house paint analogy goes on, of course. I signed the contract and there was a clause in it where I told him to replace the dryrot in the windowsills and I’d pay $35/hr plus materials for that. That was fine, we figured that would be a couple hundred. Except the dryrot on the front porch had termites under it, so I spent another $200 on an exterminator and then $2000 on rebuilding the front porch because the termites had eaten some of the supports. So even though my “house painting” job doubled in price from when I signed the contract, I don’t blame the painter for that at all, (I even have recommended him to some people.) On the CRC they may get half way through construction and discover some huge problem, (on a project this big something will come up, they can’t plan everything,) and then the price goes up…

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  • pfarthing6 October 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

    Matthew, I totally agree. IF some provision in the contract becomes apparent and requires more work, then OK. But I believe you are being far to generous to the City, PDC, and large contractors.

    And double $5,000 is a far cry from double $5 billion. The painter isn’t walking away with millions of bucks in his pocket while other people do the work. It’s just not an accurate analogy.

    What happens all the time is that “something comes up”, something unexpected and the contractors goes back to the city asking for more money. The materials cost more than expected. The work is taking longer than expected. On and on and on.

    Do some research. You think people put up with that 80 years ago when all there was to pay for a project was bonds and local taxes? Not even.

    The Golden Gate Bridge was built for $35 million dollars and was only over budget because more was added no because some sniveling contractor wouldn’t do the work for the agreed price.

    Now building a bridge across the Columbia just can’t be any more difficult. We’ve had almost a century for expert builders to be able to determine the various issues that might arise.

    No, this is either greed or incompetence at work here. Perhaps a bit of both.

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