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Refining Project Designs
In 2008, the Columbia River Crossing's (CRC) six local project partners
considered the findings in the
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), public comments and the
recommendations of a 39-member citizen CRC Task Force when they selected a
Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). At the time of adoption, the LPA included
the following elements:
- Replacement I-5 bridge with 10 or 12 lanes on two or three structures
- Light rail as the high capacity transit element with terminus at Clark
College in Vancouver
- Improvement of all seven interchanges within the project area
- Replacement of the North Portland Harbor bridge
Several significant design refinements have occurred since
the LPA was adopted, summarized below. Project elements will
continue to be refined with community input as the project moves
toward final design and construction.
Number of bridge structures (2009)
Two replacement river crossings were analyzed in the project’s Draft EIS
published in May 2008: a three bridge structure and a two bridge structure
(referred to as a stacked transit/highway bridge in the Draft EIS). The three
bridge design included (from east to west) a bridge for northbound I-5 traffic,
a bridge for southbound I-5 traffic, and a third bridge for light rail with a
separated pathway for bicyclists and pedestrians. The two-bridge design included
the two bridges for northbound and southbound I-5 traffic, with light rail and
pedestrians traveling below the decks of these bridges.
Based on review of environmental effects described in the
Draft EIS, and the needs expressed by project advisory groups
and resource agencies, CRC found a two bridge option to be the
preferred design for the Columbia River replacement bridge.
Details of the decision were shared with the CRC Project Sponsors
Council at their
June 2009 meeting.
Highway design (early 2010)
In June 2009, the CRC Project Sponsors Council (PSC) directed
project staff to analyze the project for potential refinements
that could produce cost savings while maintaining the project’s
environmental, economic, transportation, and safety benefits.
After five months of meetings with project partners and
reviewing different refinements, the CRC staff prepared a
recommendation that was presented to the PSC Dec. 4, 2009, for consideration. During the meeting, PSC
members heard testimony from dozens of people, asked for
additional information and continued the discussion.
In February 2010, the Governors of Oregon and Washington directed project
staff to continue design work using the recommended refinements to reduce the
project cost. The refinements included savings of up to $650 million to highway
plans (about 20 percent of the total highway cost from the previous cost
- Eliminating a dedicated ramp (braid) to access Victory Boulevard from
- Eliminating an elevated ramp (flyover) across I-5 as part of the Marine
- Reusing the existing highway bridge over North Portland Harbor
- Eliminating elevated structures over Hayden Island and lowering the
profile of the interstate
- Reducing the width of the I-5 bridge to accommodate 10 traffic lanes
instead of 12
- Removing one planned highway lane between SR 14 and SR 500
- Eliminating the ramps to I-5 northbound from SR 500 and from I-5
southbound to SR 500*
*These elements could be constructed in a separate phase.
Light rail alignment in Vancouver (2009-2010)
The Vancouver City Council and C-TRAN board approved the CRC light rail
alignment through downtown Vancouver in March 2010 after sharing information at
open houses and
gathering feedback about options from local residents, property owners and
businesses. The recommendations included
the following details for the North/South and East/West alignments:
- Light rail trains will travel north on Broadway St. and south on
- Automobile traffic flow will be one-way on each of these streets in the
- Light rail tracks and station platforms will be located on the west side
of Broadway St. and east side of Washington St. Stations will be in the
vicinity of 6th, Evergreen, and 16th streets.
- Light rail trains will travel both east and west on 17th St. Automobile
traffic flow will remain two-way. Light rail tracks will be in the center of
the street, between the automobile lanes.
Bridge lanes and Hayden Island Interchange design (late 2010)
Project Sponsors Council (PSC) members
at their August 2010 meeting unanimously agreed on a set of recommendations to
the governors of Washington and Oregon for moving ahead with development and
construction of the I-5 bridge project. The recommendations include designing a
10 lanes over the Columbia River and changing the
interchange design to address several community concerns. The
Final Report and its
appendices was the result of an intensive five-month public process and was
delivered to the governors Sept. 13, 2010.
Bridge type (2011)
On April 25, 2011, the governors directed staff to continue work using the
deck truss bridge type for the replacement I-5 bridge. In making their
recommendation, the governors considered the findings from the
Review Panel, the results of the Oregon and Washington transportation
departments' review, public comments, input from agency officials and the
purpose and need of the project.