I’m writing to explain a little-understood viewpoint about the Columbia River Crossing project that should be considered central to the discussion. I strongly believe our state departments of transportation haven’t fairly presented their own most practical option for the Hayden Island interchange. That option is titled “Concept No. 1”— devised directly from the preferred concept and presented in 2010.
Concept No. 1 access is very much improved with a ramp arrangement from North Portland alongside a modestly upgraded Marine Drive. Its straightforward landing just west of Home Depot immediately divides industrial truck traffic from the central development and further simplifies all other traffic. Concept No. 1 best achieves high-priority goals of public safety, yet builds zero ramps to Hayden Island directly at I-5. Certainly worth another look.
The one “Concept No. 1 Off-island Access” benefit most worthy to note is how the elimination of the Hayden Island “direct access” ramps justifies reducing the main span bridge lanes by one in each direction. Eliminating the main merge conflict problem, the need for merge lanes is reduced, saving hundreds of millions, opens options for bridge design, and builds an ideal development prospect for Jantzen Beach with no extra overhead ramps except for the MAX line and its station.