Advertising

The Seattle Times Company

NWjobs | NWautos | NWhomes | NWsource | Free Classifieds | seattletimes.com

Local News


Our network sites seattletimes.com | Advanced

Originally published Sunday, May 17, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Comments (0)     E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

WA planners looking to cut Columbia River project

The Washington State Department of Transportation's regional administrator says there may not be enough money to build a bridge, freeway and transit project in southwest Washington costing $4 billion or more.

VANCOUVER, Wash. —

The Washington State Department of Transportation's regional administrator says there may not be enough money to build a bridge, freeway and transit project in southwest Washington costing $4 billion or more.

Don Wagner told The Columbian that planners and engineers are looking to cut costs on the multibillion-dollar Columbia River Crossing project.

He says the possible cuts include delaying one or more of the interchange projects and slicing off a bridge lane in each direction.

Wagner doesn't believe it's politically possible to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge without extending light rail into Vancouver, Wash. He predicted the crossing project would be on "life support" if voters shoot down a light-rail measure.

Wagner said despite the obstacles, there are benefits to replacing the I-5 Bridge, namely a 70 percent to 90 percent easing of congestion at one of the region's most notorious bottlenecks.

He said removing a bridge lane would save about $150 million.

Between $200 million to $300 million could be trimmed from the budget if overhauling the state Highway 500 interchange was delayed, and another $400 million to $500 million could be saved if the Marine Drive interchange in Oregon wasn't rebuilt, he said.

But Wagner said saving another $750 million by killing light rail isn't going to happen.

Although there is no requirement for a public vote on Washington state or Oregon, building a replacement bridge or imposing tolls that could cost commuters more than $1,000 a year, a vote will be needed on one or more aspects of light rail.

The federal government is expected to cover all construction costs, but C-Tran will need a sales tax increase or some other revenue boost to subsidize light-rail operations and maintenance. Fares alone won't cover those costs.

State law requires voter approval of a high-capacity transit system and financing plan, a requirement that must be met regardless of how construction and operating costs are paid.

Wagner said the existing I-5 spans, opened in 1917 and 1958, are structurally solid.

advertising

But a major earthquake could be disastrous because the bridge is built on 60-foot wood piles driven into the bed of the Columbia River, Wagner said.

---

Information from: The Columbian, http://www.columbian.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

More Local News headlines...

E-mail E-mail article      Print Print      Share Share

Comments
No comments have been posted to this article.


Get home delivery today!

More Local News

UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case

NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife

Longview mill spills bleach into Columbia River

NEW - 8:00 AM
More extensive TSA searches in Sea-Tac Airport rattle some travelers

Advertising

Video

Marketplace

Advertising