The whole Columbia River Crossing is a classic “tail wagging the dog” answer to a serious problem. In a metropolitan area of more than 2 million people, we need an additional bridge — probably two — not a boondoggle that is driven more by downtown special interests than solving the Interstate 5 traffic problems.
Can you imagine the traffic nightmares that we’ll have to endure during construction of a new I-5 bridge without more than one other alternate route over the Columbia River? This is unacceptable for the primary north-south highway in the Western U.S.
What we need is another Interstate 205-type bypass on the west side of Vancouver Lake, through the Port of Vancouver, across the Columbia, through the port and industrial areas of North Portland, across the Willamette River, and tying in with Oregon Highway 217 in Beaverton, Ore. This could eliminate a significant number of trucks destined for the ports, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Ore., etc., from using I-5. With fewer trucks on I-5, there would be fewer accidents in the bottleneck areas of the I-5 bridge, the Interstate 84 intersection and the Terwilliger Curves in Southwest Portland.
Another bridge across the Columbia farther east also would help relieve the high traffic volume on the two existing bridges.
Let’s build more bridges first, then work on improvements to the I-5 bridge.