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  #81  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2007, 12:55 AM
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Oh look, Vancouverites. Gas is over $3/gallon again. Too bad you have no other way to get to work in Portland. I wonder how long it'll take to get to $4/gallon. $5. $10. Hmmm.
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  #82  
Old Posted Mar 13, 2007, 1:05 AM
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I'd actually go visit Vancouver if light rail went over the Columbia. The bridge view alone would likely be worth it... and all the new development being planned for their downtown, it should be really neat to watch unfold!

Perhaps I'll even get to design some stuff there in the future. =D
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  #83  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 4:56 PM
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Railway an issue for I-5 span fix
Adding supplemental bridge may create problems for boats
By Jim Redden
The Portland Tribune, Mar 16, 2007


Any effort to build a supplemental bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Wash., must overcome a major complication — the Vancouver Rail Bridge that crosses the Columbia River approximately one mile west of the existing Interstate 5 bridge.

The 39-member Columbia River Crossing Task Force has been studying how to reduce congestion and improve safety on and around the I-5 bridge for more than two years.

It is on the verge of approving a Draft Environmental Impact Study of replacing the bridge with a large, new span that could carry cars, trucks, transit, pedestrians and bicyclists.

But in large part because such a project could cost $6 billion or more, including inflation, the task force recently created a subcommittee to develop a lower-cost alternative focused on keeping the existing I-5 bridge and building a second bridge that would carry local traffic and a new transit line between the two cities.

The subcommittee held an organization meeting Monday. At that time, it directed the task force staff to prepare information on how a supplemental bridge could be constructed and what kind of traffic it could carry.

The subcommittee could finalize its option as early as Monday, in its next meeting.

But unless the option also calls for renovating the rail bridge, it would adversely affect the navigation of the ships, boats and barges that travel that stretch of the river.

The rail bridge has a swing span at the north end to allow large vessels to pass through it. It is on the same channel — called the primary channel — that runs under the lift span on the north end of the I-5 bridge.

Because I-5 bridge lifts are prohibited during morning and evening rush hours, vessels traveling the river at those times must perform a tricky S-turn between the swing span and the center of the I-5 bridge, where the two highest spans — known as the wide span and the high span — are located.

“The turn is especially dangerous when the water is high and the river is running fast,” said Jerry Grossnickle, chief financial officer of Bernert Barge Lines Inc., one of several towboat and barge companies that work the river.

Any supplemental bridge would make the turn even trickier by increasing the number of piers in the Columbia River that must be maneuvered around. But moving the swing span to line up with the center of both the existing and potential supplemental bridges would add at least $42 million to the project.

“You can’t add another bridge to the river without fixing the rail bridge,” Grossnickle said.

Metro Councilor Robert Liberty believes remodeling the rail bridge could be part of a package of smaller projects that could reduce congestion without requiring the replacement of the existing I-5 bridge. According to Liberty, the package could include a supplemental bridge and improving the freeway interchanges on both ends of the existing bridge.

“Moving the swing span on the rail bridge would only cost a small fraction of the cost of a new bridge,” said Liberty, who is perhaps the most outspoken critic of building a new bridge in the region.

The rail bridge is owned by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, one of the largest rail companies in the nation. Also known as BNSF Bridge 9.6, it links the ports of Portland and Vancouver and also is used by the Union Pacific Railroad and Amtrak.

Gus Melonas, a BNSF spokesman, declined to discuss the company’s future plans for the bridge with the Portland Tribune.

“We will discuss with appropriate parties as necessary however we will not speculate further at this time,” Melonas wrote in an e-mail reply.

The U.S. Coast Guard must approve the siting of any new bridge in the river. Austin Pratt, the guard’s bridge administrator in Seattle, said he would be reluctant to recommend the construction of any supplemental bridge unless the lift span on the rail bridge also was moved to eliminate the S-turn.

Boats now have to begin turning as they pass under the I-5 bridge — fishtailing, really — to make the turn. If there were more piers in the river, “that might not be possible,” Pratt said.

The Coast Guard studied the idea of moving the swing span on the rail bridge in response to requests from towboat operators in 2003. The cost of building a new lift span closer to the center of the river was estimated at $42 million at that time.

According to Pratt, the guard rejected the proposal because it did not meet the federal government’s strict cost-benefit analysis.

Even with the prohibition on rush-hour lifts on the I-5 bridge, lifts still occur on an almost daily basis, causing long traffic delays in both directions. The resulting cost in lost productivity and delivery delays was not included in the cost-benefit analysis, however.

“The study did not take delays on Interstate 5 caused by bridge lifts into account. Federal law limited the study to navigation on the river,” Pratt said.

Using the rail bridge to help ease regional traffic congestion has been discussed in the past. The Southwest Regional Transportation Council studied using it for a commuter rail connection between Vancouver and Portland in 1999.

A report issued by the transportation council concluded the idea was not feasible for several reasons, including existing freight traffic on the rail line during morning and afternoon rush hours.

The Columbia River Crossing task force voted Feb. 27 to begin a Draft Environmental Impact Study of replacing the bridge with a large span that also carries mass transit, bicycles and pedestrians. At that time, it also created the subcommittee to draft a smaller study option to be considered at its next meeting on March 27.

The subcommittee was created at the request of Metro, the elected regional government charged with managing growth in most of the Portland area.

The Metro Council voted to request the smaller option after learning that a replacement bridge and related freeway interchange improvements could cost up to $6 billion — or even more, when inflation costs are considered.

The resolution calls for the development of an option that retains the existing bridge — which actually is two side-by-side bridges, one in each direction — and adds a supplemental bridge that carries cars, trucks, high-capacity transit, bicycles and pedestrians.

The subcommittee charged with developing that option is co-chaired by Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder and Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart.

Members include: Jeff Hamm, C-TRAN executive director and chief executive officer; Fred Hansen, TriMet general manager; Dean Lookingbill, transportation director of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council; Tom Zelenka, environmental and public relations manager for the Schnitzer Group; Scott Walstra, Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce public affairs committee chairman; and Walter Valenta, the Bridgeton Neighborhood Association land use planning committee chairman.

The co-chairs of the CRC Task Force — Washington State University Vancouver chancellor Hal Dengerink and Portland attorney Henry Hewitt — are ex-officio members of the subcommittee.

jimredden@portlandtribune.com
http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/...99153007861800
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  #84  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 5:28 PM
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Sounds like this is more reason to go with the "Skyscraper Page" plan of fixing the rail bridge, building a local access/MAX bridge and calling it good. I still don't understand the supposed benefit of replacing the I5 bridge other than the lift span problem. It's 3 lanes in each direction and is supposed to be structurally sound.
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  #85  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 6:28 PM
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The problem is that more people are moving to Clark County/Vancouver and there are only two ways for them to come into the city. Until the region allows for more bridges built connecting Portland and Vancouver the only solution will be bigger and bigger bridges (rather than more, smaller bridges).
There are a lot of legitimate complaints with this bridge, but if you look at the CRC council, it's mostly people who would want to see a bigger bridge built. I doubt you'll see this alternative talked about much more past April.
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  #86  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 7:23 PM
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^^^ Snowden, the $6 billion bridge plan is to include the exact same number of through lanes that currently exist: 3 in each direction.

It won't add any capacity on the bridge itself. Part of the money, however, was to be used to rebuild all of the freeway interchanges and approach ramps on both sides of the river... I think I remember hearing that alone would take half the money.

However, the flip side to this is that all the congestion would merely move south to the Rose Garden I-84 interchange area anyway, while dumping another 30,000+ cars each day onto North Portland surface streets.

==========

Also, the complaints are coming from Multnomah County, PDOT, city of Portland, the Mayor, and citizens - both residents of NoPo (traffic) and people all over the state of oregon who don't want to pay $3 billion for something that won't benefit Oregon very much at all.
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  #87  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by zilfondel View Post
^^^ Snowden, the $6 billion bridge plan is to include the exact same number of through lanes that currently exist: 3 in each direction.

It won't add any capacity on the bridge itself. Part of the money, however, was to be used to rebuild all of the freeway interchanges and approach ramps on both sides of the river... I think I remember hearing that alone would take half the money.

However, the flip side to this is that all the congestion would merely move south to the Rose Garden I-84 interchange area anyway, while dumping another 30,000+ cars each day onto North Portland surface streets.

==========

Also, the complaints are coming from Multnomah County, PDOT, city of Portland, the Mayor, and citizens - both residents of NoPo (traffic) and people all over the state of oregon who don't want to pay $3 billion for something that won't benefit Oregon very much at all.
Yeah, the more I hear about this scheme the more it seems like a giant subsidy to Vancouver developers at the expense of NOPO. Let people sit in traffic, then maybe they'll think twice about moving to the 'Couve (or La Center), but I may be giving folks giving to much credit.
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  #88  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2007, 10:27 PM
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The CRC website has listed under the staff recommendations:
5 or 6 lanes in each direction that can carry cars, trucks, transit, bicycles and pedestrians
Which, doesn't specify whether those lanes will be one or the other...
It's too vague
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  #89  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2007, 1:55 AM
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Originally Posted by edgepdx View Post
Yeah, the more I hear about this scheme the more it seems like a giant subsidy to Vancouver developers at the expense of NOPO. Let people sit in traffic, then maybe they'll think twice about moving to the 'Couve (or La Center), but I may be giving folks giving to much credit.
I don't think there is a word for how much i agree with you edgepdx...all this bridge does/will do is encourage people to drive and it will really only benefit people who live in sw washington. Vancouver people in general suck(not you couvscott or puyopiyo) so i don't mind them sitting in their trucks and suvs getting pissed at traffic. But, then maybe i do because they will be polluting portland. How about we hand this over to a toll company and let those who drive it pay for it. Sounds fair.
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  #90  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2007, 11:58 AM
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I don't think there is a word for how much i agree with you edgepdx...all this bridge does/will do is encourage people to drive and it will really only benefit people who live in sw washington. Vancouver people in general suck(not you couvscott or puyopiyo) so i don't mind them sitting in their trucks and suvs getting pissed at traffic. But, then maybe i do because they will be polluting portland. How about we hand this over to a toll company and let those who drive it pay for it. Sounds fair.
That is why Vancouver want Light Rail, to reduce the pollution. Yea you are right, it only benefit for Vancouver, but don't forget that Vancouver is part of Portland's metro area. If you think other city bordering Portland was the ones that cause horrible traffic, then blame Beaverton too. I drive through there several times, it's the worst than Vancouver (my opinion).

I guess just wait till they decide whatever the best for us, but I hope they don't skip the light rail!
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  #91  
Old Posted Mar 19, 2007, 10:52 PM
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Third bridge study moving forward

Monday, March 19, 2007
By DON HAMILTON Columbian Staff Writer

Work resumed Monday morning on a small but critical new piece of the plan for a new Columbia River bridge.

A Columbia River Crossing subcommittee has been drafting a new alternative for inclusion in the draft environmental impact statement, the formal study of the project just now getting under way. When completed, the new alternative will mean the task force will study in depth an additional bridge while keeping the existing Interstate 5 Bridge.

On Feb. 27, the 39-member task force launched the draft EIS, calling for a thorough study of three options: replace the existing Interstate 5 Bridge with a new bridge with bus rapid transit; replace the old bridge with a new bridge with light rail; and don't build anything.

But the task force also formed the subcommittee to draft another option to give more serious consideration to keeping the old bridge. The full Columbia River Crossing task force plans to vote on March 27 to add the new alternative.

The point, said Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart, co-chairman of the subcommittee, is to explore a lower cost option.

"We're trying to find out how to create the smallest footprint while maximizing use at the lowest cost," he said.

At the Monday meeting, the subcommittee started narrowing the elements that will be included in the new alternative. It will, members decided previously, use the existing Interstate 5 Bridge, offer high capacity transit, improve truck and shipping mobility, offer bike and pedestrian access and minimize the impact on Hayden Island and downtown Vancouver.

But the new alternative also will study reversible lanes, tolling lanes, high capacity lanes and other options.

http://www.columbian.com/news/localN...news117117.cfm
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  #92  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2007, 1:55 PM
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Good, they are still holding the light rail.
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  #93  
Old Posted Mar 20, 2007, 6:03 PM
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  #94  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 3:44 PM
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Columbia River Crossing more than bridge replacement

Friday, 16 March 2007
Surface street connectors, overpasses, and interchanges contribute to cost
By Neil Zawicki
VBJ Staff Reporter

Last week, the Columbia River Crossing task force proposed options to the public for building a transportation system to better handle traffic and cargo through the roadways from Columbia Boulevard in Portland to State Route 500 in Vancouver.

The conversation continues to be contentious.

"Keeping those bridges in place has not been demonstrated to be a less expensive option," said CRC subcommittee member Scot Walstra. "But whatever it is, there’s going to be a big ticket."

The ticket will certainly be big, but some in the engineering community say the scope of the project is not thoroughly understood.

"I’ve tried to explain the magnitude of the project," said CRC Assistant Design Engineering Manager Frank Green. "This region has not seen a project of this size, I feel pretty comfortable saying ever."

Green said the size of the project gets lost in the talk around the bridge, while neglecting the many interchange and road widening needs along the entire stretch of roadway.

"The disconnect in thinking is that this is a bridge project," said Green. "But that is just one element of the larger picture."

To be sure, the bridge is antiquated in light of modern traffic and projected population numbers. But Green maintains the road system also is not up to speed, and that it is the chief area of concern.

"A big problem is with the interchanges," he said. "People getting on and off the freeway are finding more and more congestion."

To this end, a subcommittee has been formed at the direction of Portland Metro Council Director Rex Burkholder to generate a fourth idea for the project, but engineers at the CRC say any idea they offer will likely be one they have already considered over the past two years.

From their research, the task force has offered three options: doing nothing (an option required by law), replacing the existing bridge with a span that would allow Bus Rapid Transit, or building a supplemental bridge that would allow the existing light rail line to travel to Vancouver.

"Maybe there will be a creative alternative with one more look," said CRC communications director Danielle Cogan, "but I don’t think they’ll come up with anything we haven’t considered in making our recommendations."

Further, Cogan said the notion of the cost of the project is a liquid one that has been cast in stone by the media.

"It kind of burns my buttons, because I say the entire project could cost between $2 billion and $6 billion and the papers write about a $6 billion bridge," said Cogan.

Green also said the cost is a variable that has yet to be determined.

"There is not an option on the table that would cost $6 billion," he said. "Any option we end up with, the cost would be determined by the elements of the project."

The options presented by the subcommittee at the March 12 public hearing are two-fold. Option A provides for improving the interchanges at SR 500, Fourth Plain and Mill Plain Boulevards, as well as the interchanges at Hayden Island and Marine Drive in Portland. As far as the new bridge component is concerned, it would involve adding a high capacity transit lane in addition to three north and three southbound lanes, as well as a bicycle and pedestrian lane. Option B would provide the same configuration, but would have a Bus Rapid Transit lane rather than light rail. Additionally, this option would include interchange improvements at Marine Drive, Hayden Island, SR 14 (to provide I-5 access), Mill Plain and Fourth Plain as well as SR 500. Both options involve removing the existing bridge once the new project is at full capacity.

Both subcommittee options are geared toward reducing congestion, but some say an odd component is the idea to relocate the swing span on the BNSF railroad bridge in order to allow better channel navigation of passing ships.

"The thing about that is, the BNSF line is privately owned," said Cogan. "So even if that was a part of the plan, they could just say no."

Subcommittee members maintain they are trying to put every option on the table, while attempting to avoid interfering with the technical process.

"I’m concerned that what we’re doing here is acting as the engineers," said Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart. "Again, we’re not engineers. It’s our job to come up with a positive alternative that would be workable."
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  #95  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 5:17 PM
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It seems like this is the old freeway men problem all over again. "We need more capacity" they yell. So they widen this section or that and then improve some of the interchanges. Of course that just dumps more cars onto another section of the freeway. In this case it will be the 405/I5 split and down by the Rose Garden neither of which can ever be widened. In reality Vancouver needs serious light rail and to think differently about growth management (the real problem over there). They need to think differently, freeway projects are just a Sisyphean task that never really archives anything in the long run.
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  #96  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 5:52 PM
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Seattle perspective...

Sending billions to add freeway lanes into PDX is a horrible idea. Obviously its not a sustainable or long-term solution. Portland should do everything in its power to stop the freeway expansion from happening. While its important to remember that PDX and Vancouver are metro neighbors/partners, its not Portland's problem if Vancouver suburbanites have to sit in traffic; if Vancouverites dont like the traffic they should sell their car and move into PDX or get a job at Best Buy in Vancouver. Publicly subsidizing a mega project that rewards suburban home owners developers is bad public policy and flyies in the face of values (sustaibability, environmental stewardship, long-term planning) the Pacific Northwest supposedly values. Let Vancouver come up with the money for this project, its primarly their problem.

As for freight, how about giving them a dedicated right-of-way a certain number of hours of the day, whatever they need to keep goods moving efficiently.
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  #97  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 6:08 PM
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^^^My thoughts exactly Symi81...
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  #98  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 6:09 PM
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Sending billions to add freeway lanes into PDX is a horrible idea. Obviously its not a sustainable or long-term solution. Portland should do everything in its power to stop the freeway expansion from happening. While its important to remember that PDX and Vancouver are metro neighbors/partners, its not Portland's problem if Vancouver suburbanites have to sit in traffic; if Vancouverites dont like the traffic they should sell their car and move into PDX or get a job at Best Buy in Vancouver. Publicly subsidizing a mega project that rewards suburban home owners developers is bad public policy and flyies in the face of values (sustaibability, environmental stewardship, long-term planning) the Pacific Northwest supposedly values. Let Vancouver come up with the money for this project, its primarly their problem.

As for freight, how about giving them a dedicated right-of-way a certain number of hours of the day, whatever they need to keep goods moving efficiently.

I agree. I don't think we should add more lanes unless specifically for freight. This is why I have always supported the bridge to connect through North Portland to HWY 30. This would connect the ports. We also need the light rail connection on both I-5 and I-205. I think/hope congestion and higher gas prices will pry people out of their cars.
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  #99  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 6:25 PM
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what about a carbon tax? Not only could it be applied per gallon of gasoline purchased, but other heavy carbon producers could be taxed as well. Money collected from the carbon tax can be used to mitigate the effects of polluted air...additional emission free mass transit, additional park land purchased, additional TOD's funded, etc.etc.
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  #100  
Old Posted Mar 22, 2007, 6:32 PM
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what about a carbon tax? Not only could it be applied per gallon of gasoline purchased, but other heavy carbon producers could be taxed as well. Money collected from the carbon tax can be used to mitigate the effects of polluted air...additional emission free mass transit, additional park land purchased, additional TOD's funded, etc.etc.
Great idea. Maybe it would stop some people from buying a 10 MPG piece of bling or only taking it out when it is full of people going the same direction. One could only hope.
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