Though the loss of human life is the most important concern, a possible oil train derailment and fire under or near the north end of the two Interstate 5 Bridge spans is of great concern. A fire of the intensity of a tank car derailed near the two bridges could weaken the steel girders and require complete replacement of the damaged section of both bridges. At best, the two I-5 spans would require many months to repair while all traffic was diverted to the Interstate 205 Bridge, with massive traffic jams resulting.
To lose the I-5 Bridge, even for a limited time, would cause economic damage to the entire West Coast. And the number of people living in close proximity between the railroad and the river could suffer great loss of lives. Worst of all would be a derailment and fire after midnight when most are sleeping.
Our rail system was not built for transporting this type of hazardous product. Another accident is certain to happen. The only questions are when, where and severity of the damage.
The entire project at the Port of Vancouver does not appear to be a well thought-out plan. Do we want to risk the possibility of substantial loss of life and economic damage in our city?
Franklin L. Bush