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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Feds Sign Off On Columbia River Crossing

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Dec 7, 2011 at 4:29 PM

Oregon and Washington's progressive governors are thrilled today to advance plans for the $4.3 billion freeway expansion slated for North Portland.

In a joint press release, Governors Kitzhaber and Gregoire announced that the federal transit administration has signed off on the states' pitch for the Columbia River Crossing, which would replace the current six-lane I-5 bridge to Vancouver with a 10-lane bridge.

That's expected, after the years'-long public comment process on the big bridge ended in September. Now, critics are gearing up to likely file environmental lawsuits against the project. When the public comment period came to a close, Coalition for a Livable Future Policy Director Mara Gross said the nonprofit has not come to a decision about litigation, but "our concerns certainly haven't abated." Lawsuits against the project will likely focus on whether the project staff considered enough alternative to the freeway expansion, as well as the added lanes' impact on air quality.

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