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News / Clark County News

How should new I-5 Bridge be laid out? Program wants your input

Three options are under consideration; virtual public meetings planned

By Will Campbell, Columbian Associate Editor
Published: November 4, 2021, 6:01am
2 Photos
These are the three options for the physical layout of the future Interstate 5 Bridge, which will be built west of the current bridge. The height and design are not yet determined.
These are the three options for the physical layout of the future Interstate 5 Bridge, which will be built west of the current bridge. The height and design are not yet determined. (Contributed by the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program) Photo Gallery

Three options for the layout of a new Interstate 5 Bridge are under consideration by leaders of the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program: a curved twin span, a straight twin span and a straight stacked alignment.

The plans were discussed last week during a Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee session.

Program administrator Greg Johnson is whittling down options for the bridge and seeking public input in November and December. By the first quarter of next year, the program leaders hope to have a refined plan.

IBR Program leaders are now screening design options and hope to have a consensus on four questions to be answered early next year:

  • What is the mode of high-capacity transit to be on the new bridge?
  • How many lanes will be carried through the corridor, including through lanes and auxiliary lanes?
  • Will there be a full interchange, a partial interchange or no interchange on Hayden Island?
  • Will the North Portland Harbor Bridge, which carries I-5 from the south side of Hayden Island to north Portland, be replaced or seismically retrofitted?

The preferred option during the 2013 push for a new bridge — called the Columbia River Crossing, or CRC, which failed — was the curved twin span. That option is still under consideration, according to the presentation last week.

The committee is considering 10 transit options: one with a no-build option (which isn’t an actual option but is used to consider the effectiveness of the other options), one with buses on the shoulder, three with bus rapid transit, four with light rail, and one with bus rapid transit and light rail.

The replacement Interstate 5 Bridge will be west of the existing bridge, and the height and design are still in the planning process.

A total of $20,976,419 has been spent on the bridge replacement so far. That includes $1.8 million from the Washington State Department of Transportation, $609,410 from the Oregon Department of Transportation, about $18.4 million in general engineering consultant work and about $155,760 in intergovernmental agreements.

The IBR Program is hosting public meetings and events in November, including an online open house, an interactive community input survey, virtual community briefings and three virtual public advisory group meetings, according to a news release from the program.

“We are asking the community to weigh in on preliminary design options to help inform the analysis and decision-making process for a new multimodal replacement bridge,” Johnson said. “Community and stakeholder input has helped define the desired outcomes for the program, and we are committed to continuing this two-way dialog to ensure we meet the transportation needs of the region.”

The IBR Program will host four virtual community briefing sessions to ask for feedback: at 6 p.m. Nov. 10; at 10:30 a.m. Nov. 13; at 4:30 p.m. Nov. 17; and at 11 a.m. Nov. 22. Participants can submit questions ahead of time to info@interstatebridge.org, and viewers can be part of a live survey during the events.

Visit interstatebridge.org/calendar for more information on the meetings.