It’s 2:10 p.m. on a Monday and northbound traffic has slowed to a crawl near the Interstate 5 Bridge.
Nearby, Steve Johnson is polishing off breakfast at the Cascade Grill in the Jubitz Travel Center.
Johnson’s day started in Pierce County, delivering produce to the Costco Distribution Center in Sumner. After unloading his cargo, he headed south to the Jubitz mini-city at 10210 N. Vancouver Way in Portland. His leased Freightliner Cascadia tractor-trailer sits in the parking lot.
Johnson’s been working as an independent, long-haul truck driver for a quarter-century. He agreed to an interview, between bites of breakfast, with the belief the focus would be exclusively on his evolving experience driving across the Interstate 5 Bridge. But Johnson soon steered the conversation to his opinions about truck-stop food, elephant ears, driver safety and blues festivals.
The ever-increasing freight travel times over the Interstate 5 Bridge was among the arguments Columbia River Crossing proponents cited when arguing for a replacement span.