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Friday, March 2, 2012

Another $150 Million for the Columbia River Crossing?

Posted by Denis C. Theriault on Fri, Mar 2, 2012 at 3:14 PM

The Columbian has some head-smacking news about the would-be new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, the good ol' multibillion-dollar Columbia River Crossing.

The Coast Guard says it's too short, as planned, for some ships to pass under.

Which means the Coast Guard won't give its blessing for construction to start. Which means the bridge will need be to raised. Which as, you'll read below, is expensive and creates other hairy problems:

In a worst-case scenario, adding height could add up to $150 million to the price tag; cause problems with the flight paths of Portland International Airport and Pearson Field; and add to the footprints of the highway ramps in downtown Vancouver and Hayden Island.

Though the project has known since 2006 that some river users—including Vancouver’s Thompson Metal Fab—have called for more clearance, staff forged ahead with a plan for only 95 feet of clearance.

An outside project oversight group said in a December report obtained by the Columbian that the permit problem “represents a new risk” to the project’s already flagging time schedule. Transportation leaders have said construction will likely be delayed until 2014.

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