Anyone who has been on I5 N. or S. from Vancouver to Portland or vice-versa knows how bad the traffic can be there and why a new bridge needs to be built. There is too much political wrangling for me to get into here and frankly most people don’t find it interesting to read about public funding allocation (this is also a frustrating topic since they have spent $109 million already on planning and scheming and have yet to break ground on any aspect of the project). So let’s cut to the chase and look at the three options still on the table to alleviate what is currently the biggest bottle neck of traffic on all of I5, from San Diego to Vancouver. My favorite option, from a pure aesthetic standpoint (let’s face it folks I’m no engineer) is what’s called the cable stay option. The tied arch is nice too but I like the cable patterns coming off the towers on the cable stay. The truss deck is about as uninspiring as a bridge can get, it is cheap ($340 mil.) and safe though and thus still on the table. The cable stay is an extra $60 million, but I say that’s worth it. We can agree we don’t want to have the boringest bridge on I5 can’t we?
One design that just got scrapped due to it’s 3.6 billion dollar price tag was the “open-boxed web” design, which was an ambitious double-decker that apparently had a multitude of problems including engineering concerns, the aforementioned cost and aesthetic malaise.
If you haven’t gotten enough bridge talk from this post head over to the Columbia River Crossing website where you can study the regions #1 transportation project to your heart’s content.