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Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Nov. 28, 2023

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Up to $2.45 billion of I-5 Bridge project budget will go to actual replacement

Program overall expected to cost between $5 billion and $7.5 billion

By , Columbian staff writer

The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program released a cost breakdown for its $5 billion-$7.5 billion project and, with it, a clearer image of what the project will look like and how it could affect Vancouver.

The biggest chunk, with an estimated price tag of between $1.64 billion and $2.45 billion, will go toward the replacement of the bridge itself.

The remaining money will be spent on transit investments, scheduled to cost between $1.32 billion and $1.99 billion; on Oregon and Washington interchanges, roadways and shared use path, estimated at $1.05 billion to $1.57 billion for work in Oregon and $990 million to $1.49 billion for work in Washington.

Although the cost breakdown did not identify which funding source will cover each aspect of the project, Assistant Program Administrator Frank Green said that most of the $1.32 billion to $1.99 billion in transit investments will be covered by federal funds.

Downtown Vancouver

Even to longtime Clark County residents, Highway 14 can be confusing: Drivers from downtown enter from Washington Street south of the Hilton Vancouver Washington, but those headed downtown exit onto C Street four blocks away.

Program officials are considering aligning the two by moving Highway 14’s terminus to Columbia Street near Phil Arnold Way south of City Hall.

“Those connections into what has been a developing downtown core are important,” Green said. “Putting connections where they can have long-term planning around them is a good thing.”

Extending Main Street to the waterfront is also being considered. Main Street currently ends at the cloverleaf connecting Highway 14 to southbound I-5, however, with a raised Interstate 5 Bridge and approaches, there is a window to extend it.

The proposed fixed-span bridge with 116 feet of clearance will touch down near Evergreen Boulevard in Vancouver and closer to mainland Portland on Hayden Island and will go over the railroad line and Highway 14.

Ahead in 2023, the program anticipates receiving a $1 billion commitment from the Oregon Legislature, matching Washington, publishing its supplemental draft environmental impact statement over the summer and applying for federal grants in keeping with its goal of breaking ground by 2025.

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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, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

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