Public comments wanted on I-5 bridge in Northwest

| 1/14/2009

The eventual replacement of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon will be four to six lanes in each direction. Planners want public input to narrow down an exact number.

Planners have scheduled two public meetings to present information, answer questions and accept public comments on the possible scenarios for improving the connection between Vancouver, WA, and Portland, OR.

The current span consists of two bridges, one built in 1917 and the other in 1958. Officials say the bridge is congested for approximately six hours each day.

“A replacement I-5 bridge will have three ‘through’ lanes in each direction and up to three lanes in each direction to connect interchanges in the five-mile project area,” officials stated.

Final environmental documents are expected to be completed in late 2009. Funding and a time frame for completing a new bridge need to be determined.

Public meetings on the number of auxiliary lanes to accompany the minimum number of through lanes are as follows:

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21
Clark County Elections building
Room 226
1408 Franklin St.
Vancouver, WA 98660

9:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., Saturday, Jan. 24
Kaiser Town Hall
Conference rooms A & B
3704 N. Interstate Ave.
Portland, OR 97227

The 39-member task force that recommends replacing the bridge for safety and mobility reasons has also identified the need for a light-rail line to be part of the crossing.

Officials were scheduled to have a public workshop on the light-rail proposal from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 14, at Discovery Middle School, 800 E. 40th St., Vancouver, WA 98663.

– By David Tanner, staff writer