The Columbian is reporting that the Coast Guard has indicated that the bridge needs to have a higher river clearance (perhaps as much as 125 feet, compared to the currently planned 95 feet).
This has potentially big impacts for Hayden Island and other aspects of the project.
12 responses to “Another Blow to the CRC”
Time to rethink a tunnel or tunnels. Six thru lanes in tubes between N. Lombard on the OR side and Mill Plain on the WA side. Convert each of the existing bridges to 2 lanes of arterial traffic and one transit lane with or without lightrail. That gets you 10 lanes plus transit.
Remove I-5 between the tunnel portals and replace with arterial type boulevards, redevelop all the adjacent lands, and extend light rail at least as far as Hayden Island. Start tolls immediately on the existing bridges and begin development planning for housing, offices and retail in recaptured I-5 lands; maybe we could call the new development “Columbia River Crossing.”
Great News , now we can abandon the Hayden Island part of the project. They can keep the existing I-5 crossing to Oregon as local access. The new CRC can fly over top of the island on it’s way to CG Clearance.
$140 million in planning and they didn’t bother clearing the height with the Coast Guard?
So, it’s too low for river navigation. But raising it any higher will run afoul of the FAA because of Pearson air traffic.
I suppose they could add additional tens (hundreds?) of millions to the project and buy out Pearson airport while raising the bridge. Or, just ditch the current project and go with Plan B.
Or shift the focus to the freight bridge that really counts, the over 100 year old railroad bridge just down stream. Combine expanded freight, passenger rail capacity, the light rail line and with at least an eye to high speed rail.
I really like the tunnel idea. Express toll lanes in a tunnel while preserving free access might bring a lot of groups into the fold.
This knocks the project right between the eyes, with a big hammer. The right thing is to rebuild the railroad bridge with a new lift span closer to the center of the river so it could be approached from either the I-5 bridge center hump or its lift span.
Then use a good portion of the money saved providing multi-destination express service from Portland with reasonable late evening service.
Have frequent buses from several P’n’R’s in Clark County go directly to Beaverton TC, Marquam Hill, and the Tualatin and Wilsonville TC’s, bypassing downtown.
Give buses and carpools priority all the way across the bridge and to and from farther south in Portland.
Then extend Max onto Hayden Island so that riders who want to ride the Yellow line don’t have to take that irritating loop-the-loop to Jantzen Beach and sit in on-ramp traffic twice. The 4 (or whatever line C-Tran uses to cross the river) can end at Jantzen Beach instead of Delta Park.
The truth is, traffic on the bridge never recovered from the post-Y2K slump in 2001/2 and has of course taken another hit with the financial melt-down. There’s no real financial advantage to living in Clark County if one works on the Oregon side of the river, except that houses are less expensive.
But many amenities one has in Portland are pretty much completely lacking over here.
So the Boosters of Clark County will forever be disappointed in our county’s prospects. We simply don’t need that huge bridge.
Actually most people who cross the River to the OR side to work don’t go to Beaverton, Wilsonville, Tualatin, etc. They go to north and northeast Portland…Rivergate, Columbia Corridor, Swan Island, Lloyd District and Interstate Corridor. C-Tran needs to run a Limited service down I-5 from Salmon Creek, bypassing Jantzen Beach to the MAX Yellow Line at Delta/Vanport. They do this from Orchards (44Limited) and Fisher’s Landing (65Limited); the latter has 15 minute headways and makes good connections to the Red Line at Parkrose/Sumner TC. Why not down I-5? Beats me. Fares on these buses are not Premium level, so riders can tranfer between TriMet & C-Tran. Oh, and WSDOT could put the HOV lane back on I-5 south from 99th to the Bridge.
Does anyone here have an educated guess as to whether this is the death knell for the CRC? I have wrongly declared it dead long ago but it now seems unstoppable. Judging by the sheer outrage posted on Oregonlive, WW comments, editorials and universally bad press, I really cant imagine anyone outside of the bubble being for this plan going forward.
“This has potentially big impacts for Hayden Island”
Unlikely. The dredged channel is toward the Washington side. Of course additional dredging in either the CRC or the RR bridge area would have to be in the EIS.
I remember asking about the bridge height issue as a member of the CRC Task Force. If the FAA and Coast Guard get to make these calls, they get to go first. Then plan around the limits they set. That is what I suggested. And now this. Looks like the review committee is surprised too. There was the discussion about putting a lift in the new bridge which would be used a few times a year and definitely way off-peak. Guess that was the $150 million solution.
And I completely agree…it is way cheaper to build a new railroad bridge downstream AND upgrade the existing one so the bridges line up with the existing shipping channel than any other measure. Doesn’t fix the traffic capacity and lack of e-lanes on the I-5 bridges issue though.
The Oregonian picks up on the decreasing VMT story:
Are people going to start making the connection and come to the same conclusions we have? VMT is continuing to decline, regardless of economic activity, and the project keeps running into problems. Why do we need this project again?