Portland State University
Center for Transportation Studies
Spring 2006 Transportation Seminar Series
Topic: Columbia River Crossing Environmental Impact Statement
Speakers: Doug Ficco, CRC Project Co-Director, Washington State Department of Transportation and Jay Lyman, Consultant Team PM, David Evans and Associates, Inc.
When: Friday, May 19, 2006, 12:00-1:30 pm
Where: 204 Urban Center (www.pdx.edu/map.html)
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I-5 is the only continuous north/south interstate highway on the West Coast, providing a commerce link for the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In the Vancouver-Portland region, I-5 is one of two major highways that provide interstate connectivity and mobility. Operation of the I-5 crossing over the Columbia River is directly influenced by the 5-mile segment of I-5 between SR 500 in Vancouver and Columbia Boulevard in Portland. This segment includes interchanges with three state highways (SR 14, SR 500, and SR 501) and five major arterial roadways that serve a variety of land uses, and provides access to downtown Vancouver, two international ports, industrial centers, residential neighborhoods, retail centers, and recreational areas.
The existing I-5 crossing of the Columbia River consists of two side-by-side bridges, built four decades apart. The crossing, which served 30,000 vehicles per day in the 1960s, now carries more than 130,000 automobiles, buses, and trucks each weekday. The bridges are stretched far beyond capacity—the hours of stop-and-go traffic grow every year. As the metropolitan region grows, mobility and accessibility for automobile, vehicular freight, and transit will decline unless added capacity is provided in the I-5 corridor. An increasing disparity between demand and capacity will lead to longer delays, increased accident rates, and diminished quality of life and economic opportunity.
Now, the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation are leading the Columbia River Crossing project, aimed at improving the mobility, reliability, and accessibility for automobile, freight, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian users of the I-5 corridor. The project is moving through the NEPA process in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. Major transportation agencies in the bi-state region also have joined together to coordinate the development of this multi-modal crossing. These agencies include Metro, Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, TriMet, C-TRAN, and the cities of Portland and Vancouver.
In the coming years, the project will evaluate possible solutions to the problems, address design challenges, and deliver a financially feasible solution that strengthens the regional economy and strives to support community livability.