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Concrete barricade partially blocking I-5 bridge bike path

Posted by on November 23rd, 2011 at 11:06 am

View of I-5 bridge bike path
looking south from Vancouver.
(Photo: Doug Merritt)

A concrete barricade in the shoulder of the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 on the Columbia River bridge is partially blocking the bike path. Doug Merritt shared a photo of the situation with us this morning and we’ve found out that it’s the result of a motor vehicle collision that occurred over the weekend.

The Washington State Department of Transportation says crews will fix the obstruction, “as soon as they can stop chasing storm drains.”

John Kangas is a Portland resident who commutes into Vancouver. He shared via Facebook this morning that, “This happens a lot this time of year” because people misjudge the onramp onto the bridge and “nudge” the barrier over. Kangas says it’s the third time he’s noticed the barricade hit this year.

WSDOT spokesperson Heidi Sause told us via telephone this morning that maintenance crews know about the situation and they will likely get to it “early next week.” In order to fix it, she says, they must close a single lane and plan traffic detours around it. “And we don’t like to close lanes on the bridge unless we have to.”

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  • Will Radik November 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

    They should get some of those plant embankments up there so they don’t have to worry about storm drains that much.

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  • Nick November 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

    That last line is highly ironic…

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  • peejay November 23, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Sounds like we need an Occupy the I-5 Bridge action.

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    • rain bike November 23, 2011 at 11:55 am

      Or maybe just a new bridge with bike access that isn’t an afterthought.

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      • Paul Johnson November 23, 2011 at 1:26 pm

        Great! Get support for tolling the Minnesota Freeway and a design that doesn’t suck, and we’ll get on that.

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  • jeff November 23, 2011 at 11:22 am

    better than being hit by the colliding car, eh?

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    • eli bishop November 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

      this times one million.

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    • Tom M November 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Having been hit by 2 cars I can vouch for this sentiment wholeheartedly!

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  • Glen Bolen November 23, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I think moving the barrier may be more important than clearing storm drains. While it isn’t really a barrier for a bike, imagine if you wheelchair bound and for some reason have to cross the i-5 bridge. That wet grass could trap a wheel.

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  • dmc November 23, 2011 at 11:30 am

    If the barricade were pushed out the other direction Id bet it would be fixed by now.

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    • Carl November 23, 2011 at 11:40 am

      It’d just take a “nudge” to move it back!

      In other news from last night:
      -The county health building got nudged.

      -A pedestrian was nudged to death on Powell.

      Oopsy-daisy! Those wacky wacky cars.

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      • peejay November 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

        The Police report about the Powell “nudge” says the woman was not in a crosswalk, but says it was at the intersection of 31st and Powell. I thought all intersections were crosswalks, even if unmarked? Will the PPB correct this?

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        • Paul Johnson November 23, 2011 at 1:29 pm

          Looks like a crosswalk on both sides of the intersection, east side is marked, west side is unmarked. Unless there’s a CROSSWALK CLOSED sign I’m not aware of.

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    • 9watts November 23, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      I think this would be a good test of our theory. Anyone up for a bit of guerilla nudging?

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      • Paul Johnson November 23, 2011 at 1:30 pm

        Curious what one of those things weighs and what the drag coefficient is.

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    • Carl November 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm

      Another nudge from last night: (Nudged a tree at 75mph. Passenger dead. Oregonian headline gives equal weight to street closure.)

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  • Champs November 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

    For one reason or another, I’ve had to take the grass on every one of my trips along the west side of the bridge. This would just be a new one.

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    • J-R November 23, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      You must not take many trips across the bridge. I ride this as often as five days per week (including today) and this week is the first time I have had to ride on the grass this year in this section. I am grateful for the good, usually prompt response I get from maintenance at the DOTs. It’s not a job I’d care to do.

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  • Dillon November 23, 2011 at 11:50 am

    How about the Occupy fence barricade that’s almost completely blocking the bike lane on Madison.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) November 23, 2011 at 12:01 pm

      Hasn’t that been removed? It was supposed to be. Please let me know if it’s still there.

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      • rain bike November 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

        The fences and supports were on the sidewalk yesterday (11/22) afternoon when I rode through. Bike lane was clear – except for leaves and the usual debris.

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  • q`Tzal November 23, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    I was going to propose a bunch of people just shove the barriers back; not so much now.

    A quick search shows that these are 10’~12′ long linked concrete barriers.
    Standard weight for these is about 400lb a foot or around 4000 to 4800 for a single barrier.
    Add starting friction and the weight of the linked barriers and I gotta ask:
    How’s the other guy?

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  • Spiffy November 23, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    strangely I never hear of a bicycle crash that cripples automobile lanes…

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  • Zac November 23, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Makes you wonder why people continue to insist that a thin stripe of paint is usually all we need to protect us from cars.

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    • Paul Johnson November 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Because at non-freeway speeds (or on modern freeway designs), it essentially is. This segment (technically not part of I 5, but a part of OR 99) lacks 20-foot paved shoulders (or any shoulder at all here!) and bike-gapped rumble strips that make a modern freeway, (or even current interstate freeway design), requirements (which is why the segment between WA 14 and MLK is technically OR 99 and not I 5).

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      • J_R November 27, 2011 at 9:09 pm

        It is true that this section of Interstate 5 does not meet modern interstate standards. After all it was constructed over 50 years ago.

        The claim that the road between SR 14 and Marine Drive is not I-5, but rather Highway 99 is completely BOGUS!.

        It is Interstate 5. You can verify this on ODOT’s website. Check Appendix D of the State Highway Plan or the Portland map found in the “map” library on the ODOT website.

        Your “tecnically” claim is completly untrue.

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  • jim November 25, 2011 at 12:29 am

    Is there something under the barrier that is pushed out also? It’s a little hard to tell from the photo. Is it safe there? Perhaps they should make this a higher priority?

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  • Devin November 25, 2011 at 8:08 am

    If the barricades were moved to block I5 traffic, I am sure they would drop everything to move them back, one again proving cars take precedence over anything else.

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    • Paul Johnson November 25, 2011 at 10:18 am

      The bike lane is a traffic lane, too.

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  • Ian November 29, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    it’s fixed…

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