After reading The Columbian stories, I was stunned by the fact that the Columbia River Crossing would consider a 95-foot clearance when at least seven upriver companies requested a 125-foot clearance six years ago to continue to compete globally. This bridge will be a 100-year bridge. If there are any clearance issues today, what will be the economic impact 50 to 75 years from now?
CRC Director Nancy Boyd can blame the U.S. Coast Guard all she wants, but to “assume” that a 95-foot clearance is acceptable, without any written documentation from the Coast Guard, is totally unacceptable. To place blame on the Coast Guard for this issue is nothing more than an excuse to fail. People in the private sector would be fired for this lack of detail, leadership and spending of $140 million of taxpayer money.
The CRC and our political leaders continue to tell us that this “replacement bridge” needs to be built for economic and commerce reasons. However, when decisions like this are made, knowing that they may be choking the economic growth from the fourth-largest river in this country, one really has to wonder if this megaproject is more about light rail than a replacement bridge.