CRC planners to hold two open house meetings in Vancouver today

By Eric Florip, Columbian transportation & environment reporter

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Vancouver citizens will have two chances Wednesday to weigh in or ask questions about the Columbia River Crossing project at a pair of open house meetings in the Vancouver Community Library.

There won't be any formal presentations during the meetings, but a series of stations designed to cover different topics, said CRC spokeswoman Anne Pressentin. Those will include a general overview of the more than $3 billion project, property information and next steps. Hard copies of the project's sweeping final environmental impact statement -- recently sent to federal authorities for approval -- will also be available for visitors to look through.

CRC officials have scheduled four public meetings this week: two in the Vancouver Community Library on Wednesday, and two in Portland's Hayden Island on Thursday. Meetings are scheduled to last from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. both days. Each will follow the same format, with visitors free to come and go as they please.

The CRC would build a new Interstate 5 bridge between Washington and Oregon, rebuild the freeway on both sides of the Columbia River and expand Portland's light rail system into Vancouver. The project is estimated to cost between $3.1 billion to $3.5 billion.

The Columbian will be at Wednesday's meetings at the Vancouver library, located at 901 C St. Look for updates here later in the day. You can also keep tabs on the discussion as it happens at www.twitter.com/col_enviro.