Skip to comments.8-lane bridge seems dead-end idea
Posted on 06/26/2010 2:47:25 PM PDT by Willie Green
Engineers assessment is that traffic will require more capacity by 2030
PORTLAND An eight-lane bridge across the Columbia River would be too small to accommodate future traffic demand unless there is a major increase in the number of drivers deciding to take the bus or avoiding rush hour altogether, according to an engineering firm hired by the city of Portland to consider a smaller Interstate 5 bridge.
Concerned about the mammoth size of the 10-lane Columbia River Crossing currently being proposed, the city wanted to look at a slimmer version.
The engineering firm delivered its assessment Friday during a meeting of the bistate Project Sponsors Council. URS Corp. accounted for anticipated traffic demand in 2030.
The conclusion that jumped out to us was a capacity issue, said Ted Rutledge, URS transportation manager based in Denver. Both northbound and southbound were really at or over capacity. So based on that alone, its not going to meet the need.
However, Rutledge told members of the bistate panel that the project could save $50 million building a slimmer version of the current 10-lane proposal and still meet the multibillion-dollar projects purpose and need. Bridge planners envision a span striped for 10 lanes but expandable to 12 if needed in the future.
Henry Hewitt, the councils co-chairman, suggested sending the matter back to city and state transportation planners, who would then deliver a recommendation during the councils next scheduled meeting on July 16.
Washington members of the council made it clear they were dubious about the eight-lane concept.
URS found that the eight-lane bridge would accommodate only 78 percent of the anticipated traffic demand in 2030. And that assumes the number of people crossing the bridge who ride light rail and buses increases from about 3 percent today to 15 percent in 2030.
Avoiding traffic paralysis on an eight-lane bridge would require aggressive use of carpooling, enhanced bus service and jacking up toll rates from $2 to $3 to suppress rush-hour demand, the firm concluded.
Its a big number, Rutledge said. Theres no getting around it.
The concept appeared to be a nonstarter with Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart.
I dont consider paying higher tolls for less mobility effective, he said. Charging more for less isnt creating a better cost-benefit for those people who are paying it.
The project, with a price tag estimated at $2.6 billion to $3.6 billion, would replace twin three-lane drawbridges, improve four miles of I-5 on both sides of the river and extend Portlands light-rail transit system into Vancouver.
Given the increase in toll rates likely to be necessary to forestall congestion on an eight-lane span in 2030, Washington Transportation Secretary Paula Hammond said shes inclined to drop further consideration of the eight-lane option.
To constrain peoples ability to work in the region, I think is a problem, she said.
Hammonds comments generated a heated exchange with Portland Mayor Sam Adams. The mayor said he takes serious umbrage with Hammonds assertion that aggressive measures to manage demand on the bridge somehow artificially constrain traffic, as if adding freeway lanes were an unquestioned foregone conclusion.
Concrete and asphalt are choices, too. Thats as much social engineering as a carpool, added David Bragdon, president of the Portland-area Metro council.
They should go for overcapacity. Saves a lot of money and work later when it is needed a few years down the road.
You build it and they will come.
Sometimes I live in the country, Sometimes I live in the town. Sometimes I get a great notion. To jump into the river an' drown ...
Why are they absurd man? Kansas City is currently building a new bridge (the Christopher Bond Bridge in honor of the former Missouri governor and current, soon to be retired Senator) that will replace a 1954 span that long ago outgrew it’s ability to handle daily traffic demands. The new bridge will allow six lanes of traffic on I-35 and is purported to be expandable to 8 lanes.
So if 16 lanes are needed at certain times of day in Portland, why not? High speed or slow speed, light or heavy rail is not the answer. It contrains freedom to move about and isn’t freedom the bulwark of a free and prosperous nation, any nation?
Use guns if we have to to force people on these light rail boondoggles. /s
So, Willie, you work for Westinghouse in Pittsburgh, right?
Light rail will replace about one highway lane each direction. Since the proposed bridge already includes light rail, I don’t see where you’re going to get much gain over the 10 lane bridge proposed. And it sounds like the tolls are probably going to about equal the rail fares.
Railroads don’t go where I want to go when I want to go there. They don’t stop when and where I want to stop for an ammount of time I want to stop for.
Looking at the fantasy failroad plans, it looks like they have every intent of keeping me from going where I want.
Who will be using them, what rush hour? No one will have a job...
So if 16 lanes are needed at certain times of day in Portland, why not? High speed or slow speed, light or heavy rail is not the answer. It contrains freedom to move about and isnt freedom the bulwark of a free and prosperous nation, any nation?
Where did you get the silly idea that 16-lanes
will provide "freedom to move about"?
Willie, Willie, Willie, tollgates are the extension of bureaucratic power and job creation of the state (county).
Tollgates are an anachronism. My big truck is equipped with the Pre-Pass system and the Oklahoma Pike Pass system which permits my free and unhindered operation past such old backups as you have displayed. Nice try though and I give you credit for slowing the conversation to the speed of light rail.
Light rail sucks, 4 hrs via light rail what takes 40 mins in a car
I just love this flamin train video.
My big truck is equipped with the Pre-Pass system and the Oklahoma Pike Pass system which permits my free and unhindered operation past such old backups as you have displayed.
That's not "freedom".
That's "boil the frog".
Once Big Brother gets you to install those things, they'll be able to track you down whereever you go.
Heck, I bet they already have plans to install sensors in your neighborhood to charge you a toll for backing out of your driveway.
Thank God I'm getting old and hopefully won't live long enough to see it.
But mark my words, it IS already being discussed as a method of financing road construction/maintenance because they can't collect a gasoline tax from the battery powered cars.
Uh, Willie, Portland, OR is Nirvana for your central planning idiocy.