PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Traffic conditions over the I-5 bridge are as bad as they’ve ever been, according to the Washington Department of Transportation.
“Even with the hit of the recession in the 2008 timeframe, what you see is us carrying more people across the river today than we ever have before,” Kris Strickler of WSDOT says.
The congestion is sparking a conversation about a replacement bridge across the Columbia River.
Vancouver City Councilor Ty Stober says early next month the Vancouver City council will consider a resolution calling for a replacement bridge with high capacity mass transit. They will ask the governor to insert money in his budget request to reestablish a WSDOT office in Vancouver, to focus on how best to move the replacement project forward.
“Hoping then the legislature will take the step of funding that to happen — we think that will communicate to Oregon that we are serious about re engaging on this project moving forward,” Stober says.
Costs of maintaining the existing bridge spans are also an issue. It costs $1.2 million a year to maintain the lift span – $280 million to maintain the rest of the old bridge over the next 22 years. Seismic upgrades could add up to $600 million.