Additional Perspective on the Columbia Crossing Project

A reader passes along this link to an article in construction industry trade magazine about the Columbia Crossing. Two key points in the article:

– Inclusion of transit in the bi-state agreement
– Streamlined bi-state process to advance the project more quickly

3 responses to “Additional Perspective on the Columbia Crossing Project”

  1. I secretly hope nothing is done in the Columbia Corridor now. It sounds to me like doing nothing would be much better than any solution we’re likely to get (in this decade).

  2. Isaac –

    I think the danger is that a lot of the other projects discussed here and elsewhere are going to get swallowed by this one mega-project. Its taken on an importance to the transportation agencies and regional leaders far out of proportion to its real importance to the region’s transportation system. Highway 217 and the Damascus Greenway are both more critical even looking at pure road projects. There is a long list of transit improvements that make more sense than light rail just across the bridge to Vancouver. Especially when the rest of the transit system in Clark County is being gutted.

    What is really driving this project as a top priority is politics and money. Washington Senator Patty Murray is in a key position to get federal funding. Oregon transportation agencies see this project as overcoming Oregon’s comparitively weak congressional delegation and getting a nice large load of federal pork.

    Its pretty obvious if you simply tolled the existing capacity you would reduce demand to acceptable levels at almost no cost. But the process has carefully excluded those low cost options because the point of this project is to get a large federal investment that will bring money into the region for both the transportation agencies and the construction industry.

    The result is going to a be a bridge that is outsized to the rest of the transportation system on the Oregon side of the river. The next 20 years is going to be spent trying to expand the rest of the highway system in Oregon to accomodate all the traffic coming over the bridge. Washington Has seven freeway lanes converging at the bridge. where are those seven lanes for that traffic once it is across the river, muchless the exits and local street systems at their destinations?

  3. Note that the arterial bridge with lightrail is still a live option at CRC. That would be the least destructive to N/NE Portland, but its a long shot.

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