Updated: CRC and River Navigation

Update: 10/05/06

The Metro Council received a briefing on the CRC at their work session on Tuesday and commented on the potential of realigning the barge channel through the rail bridge as a way to simplify the overall problem, and the difficulty with doing so because of the private ownership of the rail bridge.

The Council also remarked on the fact that the narrow tolerance between the upper limit on bridge height imposed by the Pearson Air Park and the lower limit imposed by the Coast Guard would potentially drive costs up and complicate solutions.

Original Post: 9/15/06

One of the trickier aspects of the Columbia River Crossing is the relationship to the railroad bridge downstream.

The swing span on the railroad bridge dictates where river traffic has to line up. This in turn influences the point where river traffic will cross under the freeway bridge.

So, enter the Coast Guard:

The U.S. Coast Guard and the Columbia River Crossing project will host an open house and public hearing Thursday, Sept. 21, 2006, to obtain public input on current proposals for an additional or replacement bridge serving vehicle traffic over the Columbia River for I-5 traffic between Portland and Vancouver. Bridge alignments, pier placement and navigational concerns will be discussed.

The hearing is from 6-9pm on September 21st at the Red Lion on Jantzen Beach. An open house will precede the hearing at 4pm. Under Federal procedure, you have to sign up by September 14 in order to testify at the hearing (imagine if City Council worked that way). More details are available here.

I think this issue actually merits some serious thought. There may be scenarios where we could get more bang for our buck by relocating that railroad swing span. When I was on TPAC, the bar pilots actually came to us with a proposal to do this.

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