In a June 15 story “Murray targets opponents of CRC,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., was quoted as saying, “The people who are opposing (the Columbia River Crossing) need to tell you what the backup plan is.”
Here is one plan that meets all the project’s purpose and needs. It’s the Common Sense Alternative II.
The CSA II includes a new freeway bridge immediately upstream of the existing bridges with a profile that matches them and a bascule draw-span aligned with their lift spans.
It also includes modifying the downstream railroad bridge with a new lift span south of the old swing span, which could be permanently closed.
This change would reduce the number of highway bridge openings by about 90 percent by eliminating the dangerous S-curve, allowing barges to go under the hump of the existing and new highway bridge during all river conditions.
The existing bridges would not have to be demolished but instead could be repurposed for local traffic, transit, bikes and pedestrians.
The CSA II would not interfere with river navigation and, depending on the amount of non-essential freeway and light-rail development, could be finished sooner, without tolls, for less than $1 billion.