It’s real this time folks. It’s over. ODOT has just announced they will “shut down” the Columbia River Crossing Project once and for all. Here’s the full statement just released by ODOT Director Matt Garrett:
“On March 7, the Oregon Legislature adjourned without reinstating construction funds for the CRC I-5 Bridge Replacement project. As identified in Governor Kitzhaber’s January 27, 2014 letter to legislative leadership, the project will begin the process of orderly archival and closeout. We have the fiduciary responsibility to close out the project in a systematic, retrievable manner in order to adequately preserve a decade of research, environmental reviews, community involvement, and detailed engineering work for potential future use. We will archive work products according to Oregon record retention requirements.
Expenditures will be reduced immediately; further design and deliverable development will not occur. The project will shut down completely by May 31, 2014.
Conclude Staff and Agency Agreements
ODOT, WSDOT and TriMet will begin demobilizing agency staff. Each agency will be responsible for necessary personnel actions.
We will issue stop work orders on consultant contracts on or before March 15, 2014, including instructions to record the current status of the work product and contract amendments to archive work products and conduct contract closeout. We will release consultant staff once they have archived and catalogued their work products.
In addition, the project has intergovernmental agreements in place with agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Multnomah County Drainage District. We will close out these agreements this month with formal stop work orders.
Archive and Catalogue Work Products
We will archive and catalogue all work products, past deliverables, and permit documentation in their current state. The following types of work products exist:
Environmental documentation required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), including the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Statement(s), the federal Record of Decision and required re-evaluations.
Financial analysis, including extensive documentation required by the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, a transit operations and maintenance agreement, the investment grade analysis, and work products related to application for a federal TIFIA loan.
Recent cost estimates for elements of the Oregon-led project and the project’s history of risk-based cost estimating.
Geotechnical research and reports that have been informed by the drilled shaft and driven test pile program.
The bodies of work that led to receipt of the U.S. Coast Guard General Bridge Permit and Section 401 water quality certification in Oregon and
Washington. Work efforts required as part of the Section 404 flood and wetland and 408 navigation and levee impact permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers were underway and will be archived. Other permitting plans and work products will be catalogued.
Draft design build procurement document for the River Crossing Bridges and Approaches
Documentation and summary of the robust public involvement program, including comments, advisory group activities, outreach presentations and public information materials.
Work efforts to support right of way plans and utility relocations. Development drafts of procurement documents, including those intended to guide construction of the Columbia River bridges.
The project occupies one floor of the Vancouver Center building. The lease is on a month-to-month basis, so there is no penalty for early termination. ODOT facilities will coordinate the retention of computers, phones, and furniture; ODOT fleet services will coordinate vehicle disposition.”
Read more at The Portland Mercury and The Oregonian.
Hire Jefferson Smith?
NO MORE GROUND-HOG DAYS, PLEASE! I have spoken publicaly against this money pit, for years. Now they can concentrate on our infrastructure needs not wants. Now maybe ODOT can re-build NE/SE 82?
The biggest negative against the CRC is it’s impact on Climate Change: it’s construction footprint and ultimate goal to accomadate more cars and trucks, is wrong. The 30 years of debt payments would kill our future economy too. They would hold it’s ultimate failure on the necessity to fix the Rose Quarter I-84, to make the bridge project work. Basically more debt to accomplish that.
May the CRC finally RIP, PLEASE!
PS: Let’s talk about saving some money by banning or feeing studded tires.
did we read the same article? looks to me like it’s just being put in a cryo-freezer to be resuscitated at a later date. when it IS built i will love riding on a path that isn’t covered with pigeon poop and is wide enough to safely pull a cargo trailer on.
125,000 vehicles cross the I-5 bridge now, maybe 100 cyclist? I don’t think spending $3.5 + billion for 100 cyclist is worth it. If you want to pull a trailer around Portland with your bike, move to Portland. There’s an inadequate bridge for the lifestyle you want to live. Asking taxpayers to pay $3.5 billion for your life style choices is asking a bit much.
The BTA originally supported the project,( because of bike lanes) but when they realized no other money would be available for other projects, their support waned.
Sorry Matt, no bridge at this time.
i actually volunteered for bike/ped user counts twice and there were an average of 370 riders crossing the bridge per day in September 2008. do you think there are more riders 5 1/2 years later? i do.
3000 riders won’t justify $3.5 + billion, sorry
Jeff, did anyone suggest it did/would?
Don’t be silly, Jeff.
How many people do you think biked along the Eastside of the river before the Esplanade was built? How many bike there now?
Build it and they will come, eh?
Too high a price and too big a carbon footprint to build. Environmentally? It’s criminal. To build it just because it’ has a bike lane? Doesn’t really matter, there is no bridge for now and I’m very happy about that. People move across the country to use Portland’s bike infrastructure, moving across the river would be easy compared to that and a lot cheaper.
there are some things we don’t see eye to eye on but many that we do. i really appreciated your last letter from cambodia in support of the exciting bike project i’m working on here in vancouver. peace.
Maybe we can a MAX/Bike/ped/ local traffic? bridge from Vancouver to Hyaden Island? It would need a drawbridge, but it could be pretty low and still provide river-based industry the height access they need. Plus, a local bride on and off Hayden Island w/ MAX seems like a good idea.
Build it and they will come? That was a movie, not reality. I was just in Spain, they built an airport, nobody came, it was just one of the many reasons the country is bankrupt. Are bikers willing to pay the eventual $10 toll that is going to be required? just asking.
Dude, you’re tilting against windmills. No one here is suggesting we revive the CRC (at least I didn’t hear anyone say this).
The reason I mentioned build it and they’ll come was as a critique of your mopey bit about how few folks currently bike on the I-5 bridge. I wasn’t talking about airports or parking garages or nuclear power plants, which are or will soon be what we call stranded assets. But bike infrastructure – hard to go wrong there.
And in case you missed it – I am not advocating for anything related to the now-defunct CRC.
How about refunding the taxpayers for this waste? Oh wait that would never happen in Portland.
Does that ever happen anywhere?
Of course not. And who would pony up the cash? ODOT is broke.
Patricia McCaig and David Evans & Associates?
But aside from the ungodly waste of it all, this is great news. I have to assume it has as much to do with ODOT’s rough financial shape as anything.
The problem is that your imagined refund comes from ODOT budgetary funds that were supposed to be dedicated to O&M statewide.
The 1st “refund” that needs to happen is unspent funding diverted to this boondoggle needs to be immediately reallocated to current year’s operating budget.
The 2nd “refund” comes from successful lawsuits against the corporations that colluded to bribe our “trusted” state officials into supporting a project that only served to line the wallets of planning and construction firms.
They kept pushing the CRC as “JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!”; we should assess how many temporary jobs were created with the money we wasted so far and compare that to known returns from career retraining and re-education of the poor that are unable to get off government subsidies.
More likely scenario: The companies involved are going to sue ODOT for lost revenue or other stuff hidden deep in their contracts…
They’d have to use taxpayer money to pay for the refund; there’s no way the taxpayers can win.
It would still be great to get MAX to Vancouver; is the chance of that ever happening something like a snowball’s prospects in hell?
Probably not much chance of MAX to Vancouver now, but I think it could still be a possibility if we pursue components of the Common Sense Alternative.
I agree that inclusion of MAX was a major part of resistance from this side of the river and of turning down funding in the WA legislature. A snowball in hell has considerably better prospects than a “MAX/bike/ped” bridge.
From Washington’s perspective, light-rail was a major factor in their determination to not support the project.
The long and winding road that cost so much money in consultant fees and contracts has finally reached the end. It’s a win for all of us that didn’t want to see traffic backed up into town and a bridge designed for last century. Thank you to everyone who has stood up against this mistake over the years.
…I guess there will be one less Pedal Palooza event this year.
One less Pedal Palooza event, but one fantastic expansion of the existing Dead Freeways Ride at Pedal Palooza.
…or maybe Google will swoop in and save it…when they put in Big Fiber.
Ding dong, the witch is dead!
It’s died before. I’m sure it’ll die again. Vigilance, Mr. Maus. That is the price we must continually pay. Thanks for the fine reporting you’ve done through all these years.
To bad we have such a worthless liberal govt. that can’t even build a bridge without it turning into something way more than we need. Just build a simple bridge without light rail and all the other bells and whistles. Just something to keep I-5 moving. Now we will be dealing with two more decades of traffic jams and I-5 traffic cutting through the neighborhoods trying to get around it all. Cars not moving get precisely zero miles per gallon while at the same time are pumping dirty exhaust into our air.
yet oddly enough there were plenty of “liberals” against this project. Let’s not bring partisanship into this, as there were plenty on BOTH sides who were for and against this plan.
Thank you to all the small minded clark countians who hate light rail!
And never thought I’d thank Republicans for anything!
Hart, an honest question: Do you think that Oregon and Washington voters could come together on a bridge over the Columbia? I’m not bemoaning the death of the CRC but my understanding is Oregon and Washington voters/activists killed it for entirely different reasons.
I have no ill words for conservative Washingtonians. But I just wonder if they could have enough in common with liberal Portalanders in order to get a infrastructure project completed. Like, is there any bridge design that would appeal to both groups?
I don’t think this project is dead at all. They’re gonna rotate in another group of consultants to feed at the trough, put a different shade of lipstick on this pig, and send her out before the cameras again. I give it a year.
Frankly, the people behind the sensible alternative plans should double their efforts now, and get their ideas in the spotlight. Nows the time to gain front-runner status before this zombie comes back again.
Somebody post a picture of a zombie pig with lipstick.
Even Kitz has to face reality every now and then ..
Could the research already done be useful for the “Common Sense Alternative?”
Thanks to everyone who took a stand against this mega-project- Joe Cortright, the folks behind Mismanaging Perception, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, Coalition for a Livable Future, Earthrise Law Clinic, NEDC, BTA, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Sierra Club, and an odd assortment of political bedfellows spoke out against this ill-conceived project time and time again.
List of shame:
Consider leaving a farewell note:
It’s McCaig. Patricia, don’t go away mad, just go away. Same to all the others, including Kitzhaber.
Save us from Kitzhaber.
Maybe “The Interstate 5 Bridge Replacement Program” just needs another rebranding? The I-5 safe routes to schools and libraries transit project.
It will be interesting to see where Patricia McCraig ends up. Hopefully it is somewhere far, far away. Florida probably needs her.
LA has the plan to pave all the things.
So, what are the final costs which have accrued for the research and development for this project that will supposedly never get built? Wikipedia has it at something in excess of 105 MILLION DOLLARS…plus a million bucks a month for “ongoing planning costs”. I have to wonder what kind of projects could have been accomplished with that kind of capital…boggles the mind. Many, many people need to be fired and/or demoted for this kind of extraordinary waste. The public trust has been broken here.
Oh wait…didn’t down far enough…Wiki has the cost at 175 MILLION. Yeah.
The O says $190 or $195 million, but who’s counting anymore? It’s all just so unbelievably ridiculous. Does the state carry insurance? Can we sue the state and have the insurance pay us back? Might set a useful precedent. Or not.
They could have seismically retrofitted the existing bridges for that much. Such a waste…
This is great news. A tough decision was made. Matt will have to withstand a bunch of loud blowback, but kudos to him for being on the right side of history.
Restores a little bit of faith in the system.
Call me naive, but we should celebrate this one!
A replacement of the existing 90-year old and 50-year old bridges will occur some time. Even with good maintenance, you can’t have twice as many people using it every day as it was designed for and leave it out in the rain and expect it to last forever. There comes a point when you actually have to replace something that’s worn out and no longer meets your needs. (I’m not riding the Schwinn Varsity I bought with money I earned as a paperboy.)
When the replacement bridge comes, I predict it won’t include light rail and it will have a shared bicycle and pedestrian facility like the one on the I-205 bridge. There won’t be anything about the next version that will encourage anyone to use anything but autos and trucks for their commute. That will encourage sprawl and more single-occupancy driving with all the inherent evils people are complaining about.
We may have to wait twenty years for an answer, but I think we missed our best chance for a multi-modal solution in the corridor.
As one who used to ride my bike over the I-5 bridge on a daily basis, I was looking forward to having a nice, safe facility to ride on and the option of using light rail when I couldn’t ride.
You won’t have to wait 20 years, and we who bike will have a bridge (my guess would be the same one we have now) that those in cars and trucks will have all but abandoned. 🙂
Lots of carless drivers in fifteen years, Google notwithstanding.
I applaud your optimism, but we are many decades (maybe even centuries) away from the death of auto which you think is so eminent.
I guess we’ll find out. I hope bikeportland is still around in five or ten years.
Combined Ped and Bike w/ the same level of service that 20 has would actually be a massive improvement. Have you ever ridded over the I5 bridge? In the rain? With gravel?
Meant 205, not “20”
Yes, many times. What’s the big deal. Wear a rain jacket & keep speed under control.
So I would assume that you are a big advocate for replacing the 110 year old rail bridge downstream, then? Wouldn’t it be an even higher regional priority?
I hope the replacement also include a drawbridge so we don’t end up putting industries out of business and paying them off to the tune of $80 million plus! A shared bike/ped might be bad if they made it wide enough, and the CRC’s bike/ped facilities were FAR from guaranteed. This project was too low, too many lanes, too much highway expansion, too much money and offered very little to bikes/peds; I am glad to see it go
Ok, “Y’all” won the collective prize of killing the CRC (highway+LRT+bike ped access). Applause …and now silence.
So is there a real Plan B off in the wings…”stage left”?
With all the discussions of doing a “Mt Hood Freeway2” to this project, is there a plan to save the ~$850m FTA funding to still build the transit capacity transit portion of the CRC? At a minimum at least bring MAX to Hayden Island or better yet land in Downtown Vancouver. (Or see if BNSF could be talked into taking a “bribe” to upgrade the rail bridge to support MAX/ commuter rail across the main Columbia River channel.)
It seems like building the local access bridge with light rail and bike lanes to Hayden Island would be money well spent. We also need to work with BNSF to build a replacement rail bridge with 4 tracks, which will support future increases in freight and intercity rail travel, support higher speeds, and eliminate the S-curve maneuver that causes many of the I-5 bridge lifts.
Then, at some point in the future, a replacement I-5 span can be built just upstream of the existing spans, and the existing spans can be converted for transit and local access. No widened freeways, no rebuilt interchanges.
We’ve talked about other options for years. We’ve offered our Plan Bs, Cs, and Ds. We’ve been shut out, shut down, and ignored. It was their way or the highway (yes, both were highways). People said get on board or get run over, because this thing is happening.
We’ve offered several more affordable, more functional, more sustainable, more beautiful options. We’ve had forums and videos and drawings and community ideas. The drumbeat went on and by and large ignored the architects and urban planners and community members and neighborhood groups and equity advocates.
Now it’s time to look at those ideas, look at our resources, realize that the world has changed dramatically since the late-1990s when the CRC was conceived, and find a 21st Century solution that truly demonstrates the region’s ability to be forward-looking, innovative, and sustainable when it comes to making a transportation system that works for all.
My two cents, Evan
Hey, Todd, it sounds like you & I are in a least partial agreement for once. Personally, I don’t think extending MAX to Hayden Is. makes economic sense as the #6 bus already goes there & connects with MAX @ the Lombard transit ctr. anyway, but that’s Portland’s issue, not mine. I do think C-tran’s BRT project should be reworked to include service across the I-5 bridge to the Delta Park TC, and possibly continuing on as an express to downtown PDX.
ODOT knew long ago the bridge was a stupid idea. Now I do want the $200 million back.
I took this from the big O:
I was at ODOT when the CRC started. Of course it is Metro’s project not ODOT (even though we own it ) There are a few things that have been forgotten in the rush to a Mega project:.1) the bridges won’t fall down any time soon. ODOT bridge engineers say that if maintained they will last at least 50 more years. 2)the lift spans aren’t allowed to open during the peak hour, so are they really a problem? 3) traffic engineers will tell you that anything more than three lanes each way in the corridor are of marginal utility until the whole corridor is four lanes each way and that will never happen. Interchange improvement will only solve that bottleneck problem at that bridge, which may have improve truck traffic to the port. 4) Some people in ODOT way back then concluded that a new bridge too expensive, wasn’t possible without tolls, and was of marginal utility anyway. It already has three lanes each direction extra lanes only have utility for interchanges on Hayden island and marine drive. While I very much favor light rail in this case you can’t build a bridge without it and that is the problem. There are many less expensive projects possible even with light rail but most include keeping the lift spans or some other flaw that the current CRC assumes is fatal. In my opinion we should drop back. We may or may not lose the LRT funding. We could probably salvage most of money already spent on planning, but .we must not proceed unilaterally. In a project of this size there are always …more
It’s like Deja Vu, all over again! Everyone keeps saying this thing is dead, again and again. Now the State also says it is dead and the dancing begins again. Just wait, and watch, within 5 years this zombie will be back, with new promoters and a new price tag. The 200 million is gone forever, but within 5 years another 500 mil will be spent to reassess the project and a new price tag of twice the current cost or more will be floated.
It will be built, eventually, but at a much greater cost. $10 billion, $20 billion, pick your number. All it will take to bring the project back is one major incident. A mechanical failure that halts river traffic, a safety issue that limits vehicle traffic or structural failure that affects both. The current 4 billion will seem like a bargain when it finally comes to pass.
Remember, this is not just a local transportation issue, this effects the federal interstate highway system (with international implications) and the regional shipping industry (also international). When the triggering crisis occurs, you can be sure that bikes and light rail will be on the bottom tier of criteria that is considered in the planning. You will be able to look back and say, that the chance to influence the project for the benefit of these important issues was lost, forever.
But at least you can dance for awhile!
But by that time the continuing drop in car travel over the current bridge will make it more obvious that there’s really not a functional need for a new bridge. Wait 30 years (20?) and you can close an auto lane to make a good bike facility.
The only way to kill this zombie is to cut off the head.
Don’t pretend that I’m referring to the government or ODOT, this has been corporate money all along lurching this thrice dead corpse along.
And while it’s cathartic to say “kill the corporations” they’re harder to kill than vampire cockroaches. Perhaps we should consider distracting the zombie with a different juicy snack: the CSA.
As long as these companies are going to be mindless in pursuit of profit maybe we should aim them somewhere useful.
Maybe we could get some new sidewalks without 12 lanes and a train and it wouldn’t cost so much…
All the information obtained and prepared for the project is still relatively fresh, so expect the project to be hiding around for a couple more years with occasional discussion and perhaps even action in the coming years after an expected change in the WA legislature after mid-term elections. A project like this just doesn’t die…
I want to fire the person(s) at ODOT responsible for hiding their own assessment that the current I-5 could be made safe and seismically stable for ~5% of the projected CRC final cost.
Where’s THAT information?!?
Given budgetary constraints and anemic traffic growth that continues to fail to match the alleged “need” that a new CRC would fill why doesn’t the entire ODOT command structure fry for choosing the exactly most wrong course of action?
The travel, all the lunches, the talk talk talk. 200 mil. of fun and games.
It’s critical to note that for all the talk of this being a bridge project, most of the cost wasn’t a bridge.
That is, the project was mainly a five-mile highway expansion project, with a couple half-billion dollar freeway interchanges and four to five other interchanges, most in the nine figures.
Back of the envelope, this project was 25% bridge, 25% light rail, and 50% highway expansion.
For all those thinking that the next iteration is obviously going to be a lot more expensive, think again. Look again at the Common Sense Alternative. Remember the ODOT engineers talking about how the existing spans can last almost indefinitely, with maintenance.
And consider how we can take advantage of the changing technology, trends, and travel patterns to create a truly 21st century answer. More here:
As part of this we need to get highway engineers to admit they have a problem.
The problem is their 1960`s based traffic growth modeling equations have been killed by scientific evidence. The models have failed to reflect stagnant growth nationwide and can’t be made to reflect real data from the last 10+ years but highway engineers are in denial that this tool is dead.
Before we can move forward in to Common Sense we need to help them through the 5 steps of grieving for their much beloved abusive tool and wean them from the codependent relationship they’ve had with it for the last few decades.
well now, our wonderful rep Kotek has it still stuck in her head.
her statement says … “Absent clear, public commitment from Governor Inslee and the necessary memoranda of understanding between our two states, an Oregon-led project will not be approved this year.”
It’s Alive! It’s Alive!!
cue musical theme from Weird Science