Semi crash underscores I-5 corridor logjams


Canby Ferry can only take 6 cars at a time

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — The semi-truck crash that closed northbound Interstate 5 at Wilsonville for hours Thursday morning raises new questions about the busy corridor leading into the Portland metro.

The southbound semi crossed over the median, hit several northbound vehicles, including a pickup that burst into flames. Four people were hospitalized, two with serious injuries.

Even when there’s not a crash, there is almost always a daily traffic tie-up in the area, especially at the Boone Bridge crossing the Willamette River.

Clackamas County looked at building a new bridge crossing that would have replaced the Canby Ferry. Drivers used the ferry Thursday to avoid the I-5 closure — but the ferry only fits six cars at a time.

The Canby Ferry, February 20, 2020 (KOIN)

The ferry’s been a money loser. At $5 per car, it’s losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But building a bridge where there is a narrow and winding two-lane road on both sides of the river got a big thumbs-down from local residents.

Judi Young is a driver who uses the Canby Ferry, February 20, 2020 (KOIN)

“Imagine all the traffic on that country winding road,” said ferry user Judi Young. “It would just cause more accidents on that road than a controlled highway or freeway. Pretty scary.”

For now, the idea of putting 16,000 cars where there are now 200-per-day was abandoned. The Oregon Department of Transportation has been looking at building an extra southbound lane on I-5 in the Wilsonville area.

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