I-5 Bridge Replacement Program
The new effort to replace the I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver is well underway. DOTs from Oregon and Washington are pouring money into an immense public outreach/PR campaign and planning process that is so slick it’s scary.
Along with hosting lots of advisory committee meetings and splashing content across multiple social media channels, the folks behind the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program effort have opened an online open house that includes the project’s first public survey.
Wednesday evening is the first meeting of the community advisory group (CAG) for the I-5 Bridge Replacement program — the new effort from Washington and Oregon departments of transportation to improve the crossing of the Columbia River between Portland and Vancouver. It’s one of three advisory groups that will help the DOTs avoid the fate of the failed Columbia River Crossing project.
Getting to the bridge and crossing the river is currently terrible for bicycle users and this project could attract billions of federal dollars to make it better. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make it easy to bike between these two growing cities — both on the bridge itself and on street connections on both ends.
However, despite the importance of bicycling in this project and the project’s own contention that the CAG will, “develop recommendations to help ensure the program outcomes reflect community needs, issues and concerns,” the 32-member body does not include anyone who represents a cycling advocacy group.[Read more…]
While all the attention at today’s Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) meeting will be on the I-5 Rose Quarter Project, there’s another highway expansion mega-project that will take an important step forward.
The OTC is expected to give the Oregon Department of Transportation permission to enter into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the Washington Department of Transportation that will lay the groundwork for cooperation on a project to replace the I-5 bridges over the Columbia River. This is a resurrection of the ill-fated Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project that came crashing down in 2013 after the Washington legislature backed out of their funding commitments.
But since massive highway expansion projects are the air that keep state transportation agencies alive, after spending eight years and over $200 million the first time around, Oregon and Washington are eager to try again.[Read more…]