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The Crossing at a Crossroads

OPB | Aug. 5, 2010 9 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 9:33 p.m.

Last week, a new report (pdf) laid out some of the best and worst things about the way the I-5 bridge project has developed thus far. The independent report also makes some recommendations, which Oregon and Washington’s governors seem to be taking to heart. The multi-million dollar Columbia River Crossing project requires input from many different players in both states. So, it’s no surprise that not everyone is on board with the report’s recommendations. Portland Mayor Sam Adams, for example, would like to see more control handed to the Project Sponsors Council (a group which includes Adams and Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt). The report recommends consolidating leadership rather than making key decisions with an unwieldy committee that crosses state lines.

One of the bright spots in the process appears to be Hayden Island, where business owners and residents recently reached consensus on a key part of the bridge’s infrastructure. The latest design for the Hayden Island Interchange will be discussed at a public meeting Thursday night. It’s just one more step in the long journey towards finalizing the entire project, something the departments of transportation in both states hope to complete in time to apply for federal funding. The federal dollars would come through the reauthorization of the national transportation law which takes place approximately every 6 years. The last bill was authorized in 2005 and expired in 2009.

Do you use the current I-5 bridge? What would you like to see in a new Columbia River Crossing? Who should have control of this project? 

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