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I think one of the biggest things I dislike about a huge number of lanes on the bridge goes along with something you said - that congestion won't be determined by how many lanes there are, but by the freeway leading up to the bridge on either end - and I would be afraid that half a year after the bridge is built, someone will realize that and say, "Oh, we should add 6 lanes to I-5 going through Portland" - and then we'll have a mega-highway right through the middle of Portland, which I think would be horrible. It's bad enough having a major highway going through the middle of the city at all (and we have a couple).

Double J

The number of lanes is a huge red herring.

This whole debate over this bridge has been incredibly vague and it's going to require a series of serious potential designs and maybe a world class architectural competition to suss out the real issues here before anything truly productive starts to emerge. This bridge means many things to numerous groups and it will take more than an engineer and a few politicians to get a good result.

It will take a very talented architect of the first order to turn this into something worthy of all this harranging. If Sam Adams can start up a preliminary design competition it will allow the politicians to deferr to and or critique design ideas while holding the whole budget accountable.

Right now Mayors Adams and Pollard are the loudest design voices involved with the project and that's just plain bad for both the bridge and the politicians. A competition lets the politicians be politicians and the architects be architects. What's more it will bring the bridge into focus.

Double J

Right now with so many competing concerns this has become a blind man's elephant.

Frank D

What expertise does Oregonian editorial board actually have when it comes to urban development and transportation? This is a case of a dying dino totally out of touch with the community its supposed to serve (has sticky taken a pay cut yet?) The BTA is being responsible by telling the truth. The bridge at 12 lanes makes no sense and will do nothing but move traffic south and increase clark county commuters options for a few years. Now if you want to dedicate a lane to freight only, add commuter rail as well as light rail then I might start to take the CBC seriously. Right now as designed its nothing more then a dig a hole and fill it up project for contractors and a Clark County real estate grab.


You're right--whether the bridge is 10 or 12 lanes won't make much difference to congestion right now because of other nearby bottlenecks. (That's why I'm not particularly worried that a big bridge will bring excessive pollution to the area.)

Meanwhile, we probably won't see another bridge built across this stretch of the Columbia for another 50 or 60 years or more. It would be a shame to box ourselves in for the day when the other bottlenecks are eliminated.

Douglas K.

I agree that design is important -- but it probably will be the first thing to go. The constraints say you can't build high (because airplanes might run into it) and you can't build low (because of shipping up the Columbia). So you wind up with an elevated, single deck freeway ramp ... the Glenn Jackson Bridge 2.0.

As much as I'd love the result to be something impressive, it probably won't be. We'll be throwing away $4.3 billion on an overbuilt concrete slab. That's $4.3 billion we won't have for numerous other infrastructure projects in the Portland/Vancouver area.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't part of the problem the lack of a growth boundary around Vancouver?

When did widening a highway ever create a better place?

I'd be fine with a lane or two for freight, bikes, and light rail but making the trip from Vancouver to downtown Portland faster will only create housing farther away from Portland. Sprawl begets sprawl. That's the problem.

You have to deal with induced demand. A new wider bridge won't ease congestion when there are more people commuting from low density development farther north because it's perceived to be faster initially.

Public transit doesn't serve sprawl well. Although I may be wrong, I can't imagine a lot of people biking over the bridge. Unless it's designed VERY well, many people will be intimidated. That's a very long span, and it'll be tough to get the scale down to something that's inviting for bikers.

In many places there's an endless process of 'fixing the bottlenecks.' I can't help but think that ODOT also has that mindset.

I do believe that an open competition would be GREAT for this project. It could generate a lot of ideas and give people in the region the beginning of a vision for what they want this bridge to be and do.

Good luck with this project! I understand the need for a new / renovated bridge from a freight perspective, but it needs to exude sustainability or it's just going to generate another 50 years of cheap gas environments. Is that what people in Portland and Vancouver want their environments to be?


The people that are organizing the rally (not the BTA, by the way) have posted video spoofs to get their message out:



"Being able to commute home with a little less headache isn't necessarily going encourage a sea of people to move further out."

I'm not sure this is completely true.

Wouldn't you need 10-12 lanes to have a toll bridge?

Widening the roads to control congestion is a little like loosening your belt to control your weight. I read that somewhere and can't help but think it applies here. That bridge deserves to be a BRIDGE, not another elevated highway. There is a difference.


Too many people are dependent on the habit of every day, going back and forth across the river for their living. This pork barrel bridge doesn't do anything to address that fundamental problem. The bridge will improve ship navigability, pedestrian and bike amenities, and (if it's still included in the proposal) offer light rail transportation. If those things are worth the money, build it.

Imagining that this bridge will significantly improve the daily commute experience seems highly unlikely to me. Hoping that it would seems like the worst reason of all for supporting this project.


it is a complicated issues, but what is being proposed does a terrible job of solving many of these concerns.

one bix fix that will increase Vehicles Miles Traveled and.

We can stop it if we want to. It just requires everyone to become more aware of what is at stake.


this is a bigger issue than the O, BTA or Portland. Unfortunately, it is even bigger than METRO. This is an issue which the states of Oregon and Washington are barely in control of. Because we don't have real leaders in either statehouse, the project is getting jammed down our throats by a few special interests. Long-term, responsible common sense marks this as the last of a generation (at least for these states) mega-infrastructure dedicated and designed solely for cars. token transit included.

Jake P

Most of you clowns operate on a theoretical view of the world which does not translate into real-world realities. The whole PURPOSE of the bridge is to move traffic from one side to the other. People will "sprawl" if they want to, and no amount of berating by clowns who wear Buddy Holly glasses will change that.

If you all were so worried about the environment, you would welcome a new bridge with numerous lanes so cars are not stuck in traffic jams as they currently are. And besides, we need to improve our freeway infrastructure to allow trucks to access Portland.

You are all for decent paying jobs right? Not everyone can work for the government planning to make everyone else's life miserable by limiting mobility.


A compelling argument against the clowns Jake, you've won me over.

Joking aside, in real carbon terms a new free flowing facility with more vehicles is often of lesser impact than a congested route.

However, a 12-lane facility on the Columbia would be a blight to the landscape - leading to bottlenecks on either side, as previously pointed out.


"If you all were so worried about the environment, you would welcome a new bridge with numerous lanes so cars are not stuck in traffic jams as they currently are".
How exactly do you figure that cars will no longer be stuck in traffic jams? When both sides of the highway on either side of this mega bridge are half the number of lanes as the bridge, there are going to be traffic jams. Bigger ones then we have now, because hmm, lets see, 12 lanes holds a lot more friggin cars then 6 lanes. No? And all the people who said "sweet, I can drive my single-occupancy vehicle all over between Portland and Vancouver now because it's supposed to be so much easier because of our grand new concrete monstrosity. They will be sitting in bigger traffic jams, demanding that we demolish downtown Portland to add 6 more lanes of freeway.
This is a project with an unbelievable lack of foresight. Well, not really because this is a project being controlled by Clark County developers and freight companies. Well, Portland defeated the Mt Hood Freeway, and the Harbor Freeway project, we can defeat this.


We have to build the new bridge because the falling-down antiques
so beautifly illustrtated in Brian's postcards are an on-going danger. They put shipping at risk and will fall down in an inevitable earthquake.


The 12 lanes are not perma-12 lanes. This 10-12 number is counting the new on and off-ramp lanes that come and go at certain intervals along I-5. Right now, there is not enough room to merge safely into and out of traffic, hence the additional lanes. It's not going to be a massive 10 lane highway the whole way. Read about it. Also, Vancouver agreed to a new urban sprawl containment policy when Adams announced his support for the project several weeks ago.

Lance Lindahl

Neither I-5 bridge is a "falling-down antique". In fact, neither bridge is on ODOT's list of 100 most structurally deficient bridges. Any earthquake that toppels the Interstate Birdge will more than likely toppel the Marquam and Fremont Bridges as well.

As for Vancouver's new urban sprawl containment policy, that is a moot point. New development in SW Washington leapfrogged to areas outside of the Vancouver city limits long ago. In fact, it isn't even an issue limited to Clark County any more.

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