Mitigation boosts cost of Oregon’s I-5 bridge plan
Oregon would pay three manufacturers along the Columbia River if its proposed new Interstate 5 bridge restricts the size of products they can ship, according to state documents released Friday.
The Associated Press
SALEM, Ore. — Oregon has agreed to pay nearly $90 million to three manufacturers along the Columbia River if a proposed bridge restricts the size of products they can ship, according to documents the state Department of Transportation released Friday.
The cost is not included in the project’s advertised price, which started at $3.4 billion but was scaled back to $2.75 billion after Washington state lawmakers failed to contribute.
“We fully disclosed that as we went forward, and acknowledged that a separate funding plan would be necessary if mitigation agreements reached success,” said Kris Strickler, Columbia River Crossing project director.
The project would replace several miles of Interstate 5, including the bridge between Oregon and Washington, and extend Portland’s light-rail system into Vancouver, Wash.
Without money from Washington, proponents are now trying to convince Oregon lawmakers to approve a scaled-back plan that would stop at Highway 14, at the bridge’s northern end.
The existing bridge has a section that lifts to allow taller river traffic to pass underneath. The proposed replacement would be too low for three manufacturers upstream to transport some of their products.
Under the agreements, the state of Oregon would pay $12 million to Oregon Ironworks, $25 million to Greenberry Industrial and $50 million Thompson Metal Fab if the bridge is built.
The agreements are key to Coast Guard approval of a bridge permit, said Mandy Putney, a spokeswoman for the project.