TEA-21 programmed funding for a feasibility study to replace or improve the Columbia River Crossing along a proposed SR 35 corridor linking Oregon and Washington near Bingen, Wash., and Hood River, Ore. A Purpose and Need Statement was developed and adopted by the RTC in 1999. RTC has begun conducting a feasibility study of a new or improved crossing.
With multiple agencies having jurisdiction or providing services in the study area, there is a wealth of information that needs to be centralized and made available for further use in this study. Collecting and developing a database of information is just part of the need; it is also critical to present the data in a fashion that is useful to the agencies and understandable to the public.
This Baseline Conditions Report will summarize and evaluate existing data necessary to understand existing physical and operational features within the study area associated with the existing river crossing, including bottlenecks such as intersections with the bridge and I-84 and SR14, toll booths, connecting arterial roadways, rail and marine transportation. This data will form the baseline for comparison with the future "no-build" conditions and subsequent strategies, refinement, screening and evaluation.
This Baseline and Existing Conditions Inventory has been prepared to assist those involved with this study in understanding the current and future needs associated with the current Hood River Bridge crossing. This inventory is a summary of existing conditions of the built and natural environment, transportation facilities and conditions, current and future deficiencies in level-of-service, and identified substandard design conditions. This report describes the existing and 20-year No-Build conditions to be used for evaluating improvement alternatives in the corridor.
This report includes a review of the engineering information associated with the Hood River Bridge, existing transportation facilities, their respective deficiencies and funding sources, environmental issues that may impact or constrain crossing improvements, and economic conditions.
This report has been developed so that major study areas, such as transportation and environmental, are included as separate chapters. The report is organized as follows:
Chapter 1, "Engineering," contains information regarding existing physical and operational features within the study limits associated with the existing river crossing. River navigation is included in Chapter 2. Included will be a compilation of structural condition information for the bridge and connecting roadways, as-built bridge and roadway information. Under development is a mapping database using existing mapping data in the study area.
This data will form the baseline for comparison with the future "no-build" conditions and subsequent strategies, refinement, screening and evaluation. The data developed will be tailored to the tiered evaluation framework.
Chapter 2, "Navigation", identifies the types, frequency, size and operational characteristics of vessels transiting the Columbia River at the existing Bridge vicinity as well as other crossing corridors. Also included are recommended bridge design clearances to accommodate river navigation.
Chapter 3, "Environmental", summarizes existing environmental data through contacts with federal, state, and local agencies, collection of available documents, and windshield reconnaissance of the project area. Applicable information is summarized in this chapter along with maps suitable for use in the development of alternatives and impact evaluations.
Information in this chapter includes land use and development plans for cities, counties, and ports; wetlands and stream crossing data; Gorge Management Act information; air quality and noise information; in-lieu tribal fishing sites and tribal, cultural, archaeological, historical data; as well as recreational use information.
Chapter 4, "Economics", assembles existing and available economic and trade data to identify and describe the region and its industries. This includes an assessment of the role of interstate and regional trade in the regional economy and the importance of crossing as a commuter route to support the local economy.
The interstate and regional significance of the study regions trade economy and the role of a Columbia River Crossing within the study region will be identified and described in the context of the proposed Tier 1 alternatives. General commodity flows will be described to provide an overview of local economy with respect to volumes of goods movement. Specific local industries or economic sectors involved in or affected by goods movement, including interstate trade, will be identified and the potential impacts of alternative crossings will be assessed to the extent relevant and necessary in the Tier 1 alternatives screening.
Chapter 5, "Transportation", summarizes existing data necessary to understand existing physical and operational features within the study limits associated with the existing river crossing, including bottlenecks such as intersections with the bridge and I-84 and SR14, toll booths, connecting arterial roadways, rail and marine transportation. This data will form the baseline for comparison with the future "no-build" conditions and subsequent strategies, refinement, screening and evaluation. Data is included from traffic counts, studies such as the SR-14 Corridor Plan, and the Hood River Transportation System Plan.
The following is a brief summary of the key findings from the Baseline Conditions inventory.
- No engineering analysis has been conducted that addresses the cost or problems associated with adding a sidewalk to the Hood River Bridge.
- A sidewalk study would need to examine such issues as wheelchair accessibility, bridge load strengthening, and modifications to the lift mechanisms to accommodate the additional load.
- The previous bridge inspections appear to be adequate. PB bridge engineers would suggest a more aggressive inspection schedule and process if they were responsible for the inspection on this bridge.
- Further communications with the Port of Hood River are ongoing regarding Bridge Inspection reports and maintenance repairs conducted to date to compile a more comprehensive understanding of the Bridge.
- The Hood River Bridge has a vertical clearance of 67 feet, which is an adequate height to allow most tugs to pass under without lifting the span.
- The horizontal clearance on the navigation channel is less than the 300 feet, which is recommended by the Corps of Engineers and the towboat operators.
- During high water, the passage of large vessels such as the stern-wheelers or cruise ship may require the bridge to be opened.
- The Hood River Bridge typically opens only once or twice a month.
- There are a number of threatened or endangered anadromous fish stocks that migrate through the bridge relocation study area. The National Marine Fisheries Service has designated all of the Columbia River shoreline within 300 feet of the water as Critical Habitat for these species.
- There are two designated access areas for Native American Fisheries in the bridge relocation area.
- Water quality in the area is generally good, but there are specific water quality issues in the Columbia, Hood and White Salmon Rivers.
- There are wetlands that would be directly impacted by proposed bridges in all of the corridors.
- There are a number of sensitive plants in the study area. They are primarily located at or near Stanley Rock or near the West Hood River Interchange.
- The majority of the population and employment in the study is located on the Oregon side of the bridge.
- The Hood River Bridge carries a substantial amount of truck freight and it is used by a large number of consumers who are seeking retail options in Oregon.
- Most of the road system in the area of the Hood River Bridge has adequate capacity. However there are several identified highway capacity problems near the south end of the bridge.
- Identified current or near-term congestion locations include the Hood River Bridge access road at SR-14 (northbound-to-westbound left turn), the area between the toll booth and the four-way stop at the Port of Hood River and retail complex access road; and the left turns from each of the I-84 ramps.
- Two existing public transit systems provide basic local transit service to the area.
- The total number of bridge crossing on the Hood River Bridge was relatively stable from 1993 to 1998. This number increased somewhat in 1999.
The complete report has also been made available online. It is presented as a 1083Kb PDF file, so it may take a short while to download. You may need to download the freeware Adobe Acrobat reader, if you haven't already installed it on your computer, in order to view/print this report.
E-mail or phone:
Regional Transportation Council
1351 Officers Row, Vancouver WA 98661
Send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or comments
about this web site.
Copyright ©1992-2011, Regional Transportation Council, All Rights Reserved.