Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire now have a design for the Columbia River Crossing. It’ll be a deck truss bridge, similar to the Marquam Bridge which carries Interstate 5 traffic over the Willamette River in downtown Portland. Some have already deemed it the “cheap but ugly” option, but Governors Kitzhaber and Gregoire say the design will save money and allow the project to break ground in 2013.
Though the look of the bridge is now relatively certain, some economists and legislators in Oregon are questioning whether this is the best plan for the Columbia River Crossing. According to Joe Cortright, a Portland economist and Columbia River Crossing critic, the actual cost of the bridge will likely reach $10 billion, instead of the current estimated price tag of $3.6 billion. Cortright also doubts that construction can start in 2013 because the Oregon and Washington legislatures have yet to allocate any money for the project.
How would a new bridge over the Columbia affect you? What do you want to know about the new plan?
- Brian Gard: Executive Director of the Columbia River Crossing Coalition
- Joe Cortright: President of and economist at Impresa Inc.