What happened the last time a new transportation corridor was built? That’s a question everyone should ask, now that discussions have begun about rebuilding the Interstate 5 Bridge.
When the new Interstate 205 corridor opened in December 1982, I-5 had almost 110,000 average daily vehicles crossing the I-5 Bridge. The next year, traffic counts dropped 18.6 percent to 89,000 vehicles. It took a decade to exceed 1982 vehicle counts on I-5. Now, that’s congestion relief.
We’ve added over 1 million people. According to a recent study, Portland has the nation’s 12th worst traffic congestion due to a lack of investment in roads and building new transportation corridors.
The original plan was to build a westside corridor completing a “ring road” around the downtown core, once I-205 was finished. Sadly, Portland killed the second phase. We’re living the traffic nightmare that was guaranteed to follow.
A westside corridor is needed, connecting north Clark County to state Highway 26 near Beaverton-Hillsboro. This will provide relief from everyone going through the three-lane Vista Ridge Tunnel in downtown Portland. Oregon Rep. Rich Vial recently introduced a bill allowing for the creation of such a corridor.
Needed next — an eastside corridor providing relief for I-205.
Build more bridges and transportation corridors to reduce congestion and improve freight mobility. A decade of relief happened last time.