A bulged lookout on the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge to enhance the experience for pedestrians and cyclists is being considered by the Interstate Bridge Replacement program.
The lookout’s location has yet to be decided, but if it were up to Greg Johnson, the program’s administrator, it would be where pedestrians can sit, relax and have the best possible view.
“Folks could look out on the river and hopefully have sight of Mount Hood and just take time to enjoy the experience of being over one of the most iconic rivers in the country,” said Johnson.
Specifics will be developed over the next year and a half as the Interstate Bridge Replacement team talks to urban design and bridge aesthetic firms and continues to communicate with the biking and walking communities.
Johnson said that although not every possible bridge configuration could accommodate a lookout, the ones under most serious consideration likely would.
The U.S. Coast Guard, which has veto power over a new bridge, issued a preliminary determination requiring a replacement bridge to provide at least 178 feet of clearance, the same as the current lift spans when fully raised.
Although the Coast Guard’s decision was not final, if a clearance of 178 feet is ultimately required, a bridge with a moveable span would likely be necessary to accommodate pedestrians and to make crossing the Columbia easier, specifically for trucks.
The bridge type will not be selected until at least 2024.
“We know it’s important for the user experience for bikers and walkers,” Johnson said. “To draw more people to use it you have to have things that are of interest and make it interesting for them to be on that path.”
This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.