Press "Enter" to skip to content

WW: It’s for Vancouver rail

What, specifically, was the motivation for the massive planned undertaking of rebuilding the Interstate 5 Columbia River bridge? Was the heavy traffic that periodically jams up (but actually is lighter than it was some years back)? Was it bridge deterioration (though other bridges around the region, ad eve in Portland, are in worse shape)?

Willamette Week points out something that most readers (us, unfortunately, among them) of the Oregon Supreme Court’s recent decision on the bridge missed: The original motivation for the whole billion-dollar project seems to have been extending light rail from Portland to Vancouver.

In the article “The $2.5 billion bridge,” the paper notes, “The massive Interstate 5 bridge and freeway project is a “political necessity” to persuade Clark County residents to accept something they previously didn’t want—a MAX light-rail line from Portland to Vancouver.”

Or, from the Court’s decision: “It was politically impossible for the light rail project to proceed without also building new interstate bridges across the Columbia River … Or as Metro later summarized it: ‘There is no light rail without the freeway bridge[s] being replaced.’”

Share on Facebook