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Interstate Bridge to be Rebuilt?

With the Pacific Northwest’s population continuing to rise, Washington governor Jay Inslee and Oregon Governor Kate Brown sat down together in Vancouver on November 18,2019 to revisit the possibility of rebuilding the Interstate Bridge.

The concept of rebuilding the Interstate Bridge is not a new one. In fact, it was making headway back in 2014 until Washington’s government in Olympia refused to fund Washington’s portion of the proposed Columbia River Crossing Project. However, Inslee and Brown appear dedicated to making this project come to fruition now.

It was noted by Governor Brown that,” Both Oregon and Washington are currently experiencing unprecedented population, cultural, and economic growth. This joint effort to replace the Interstate Bridge is critical to the safety and economies of both Oregon and Washington, and an important step forward as we invest in the growth of our region.”

Inslee, for his part, appears to agree, also mentioning the Pacific Northwest’s economic and population growth as reasons why this project needs to be restarted. Concern has been raised about the vulnerability of the bridge, currently listed as in “fair condition” in the event of a large earthquake. Seismic considerations as well as the potential addition of other mass transit such as light rail are a few areas being considered and explored as both states set up their new bridge project office, which both states contributed $44 million to.

Another large item to be addressed? Cost. The former Columbia River Crossing Project was to cost in the realm of $850 million, some of the money coming from Federal Grants. With that time long past, will the federal government contribute money towards this project again? Will both Oregon and Washington be able to follow through with their contributions as well? It is possible that questions such as these will be addressed in the report due on December 1. 2020 that discusses how to revive the bridge project.

What portion of this project do you believe needs to be highlighted in the revival report due next December?

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