An Alternate CRC Vision

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Regular commenter Ron Swaren sends along this alternate concept for the Columbia River Crossing:

The concept of a new Interstate Bridge in the Burlington Northern/AMTRAK corridor has been widely discussed both in Vancouver, WA political circles and in Portland, as an alternative to the Columbia River Crossing project. The idea was discussed, briefly, as the RC 14 alternative in the CRC’s list of potential river crossings.

It would be about .8 miles downstream from the existing Interstate bridges, would eventually replace the existing rail bridge which has a large number of concrete piers and low clearance with a design with one large pier midstream with a recreational level accessible from bicycle and pedestrian pathways. The eventual removal of the railroad bridge would improve navigability in the dredged Columbia channel, which is located on the Washington side of the Columbia. It would allow commercial river traffic to easily line up with either the elevated portion of the remaining Interstate Bridges, or with the lift span when the need arises.

It would eliminate the s-turn presently required for much upstream barge traffic.

Rail traffic, including freight, commuter and interstate passenger, would be located on the lower level. Either four or six lanes for interstate traffic could be located on the upper level plus wide sidewalks for bicycles and pedestrians. The center pier would be accessed by stairways from the upper deck and would have sizable platforms both near the water and on the upper level. The double through arch design is reputed for seismic safety and can also have pendulum isolation bearings and/or lead-rubber bushings between the piers and the metal structure to further reduce any damage from earthquake.

It would be part of a route that in Washington State could connect to I-5 via Mill Plain Blvd, 78th street or a new connnection further north. It could also connect to Fruit Valley Highway. It would have an elevated crossing over Hayden Island in Oregon with on and off ramps to Tomahawk Island Drive and a span supported by an arch over the Portland Harbor. On the mainland it would follow North Portland Rd. to Columbia Boulevard. The rail portion would then continue southward to the existing rail crossing of the Willamette River. A highway route to NW Portland would follow west on Columbia Boulevard, cross the Willamette just south of Sauvies Island via a large, arch supported roadway and connect to Hwy 30 with on and off ramps. The route would continue south via Newberry Rd, to Skyline Rd, to NW Kaiser Rd and finally to Cornelius Pass Rd. Cornelius Pass Rd crosses US 26 several miles further south and enters the industrial area between Beaverton, OR and Hillsboro, OR called the Silicon Forest.

A commuter from downtown Vancouver to the interchange of US 26 and Cornelius Pass Rd would reduce his travel by five miles over a present route using I-5 and US 26 from downtown Portland. In Oregon the needed roadways are 95 percent in place already, but would require some straightening and widening. This does not need to be part of the US Interstate Highway system per se, but would connect several routes that now typically feed in to Interstate 5 in North Portland.

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