Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council

Transportation Issues in the News

Below are an assortment of recent news items related to or impacting local transportation issues. Most of these stories were authored outside the agency, and will take you to a new page on (or PDF document from) an external site.

Transit, tolls biggest issues in I-5 Bridge replacement project - October 5, 2021
Will Washington and Oregon be able to avoid the problems that plagued their last attempt to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge? Transportation officials are working diligently to ensure it happens. Roger Millar, Washington’s secretary of transportation, met recently with The Columbian Editorial Board to talk about the bridge replacement project and the future of transportation in Clark County. He was joined by Greg Johnson, program administrator for the Interstate Bridge Replacement project, and Carley Francis, Southwest region administrator for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “I think it’s going along very well. There are still questions and concerns. One thing we are telling everybody is this region cannot afford to let perfect be the enemy of good,” Johnson said. “We’re putting a lot of effort into community outreach and making sure that we are keeping people informed as we go along.”
Lawmakers review Interstate 5 Bridge progress - September 19, 2021
The bistate legislative committee of Oregon and Washington lawmakers overseeing the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program held its first meeting in four months on Friday, reviewing the project office’s progress over the summer. Friday’s meeting marks the start of a period in which the legislative committee plans to meet monthly, reflecting the rapid pace of planning. Program administrator Greg Johnson and the IBR staff began the meeting with a presentation similar to the one they gave to the project’s Executive Steering Group on Wednesday, outlining their projected time line, including the goal of settling on a single recommended bridge configuration in early 2022.
Group sets goal of recommending new Interstate 5 Bridge’s blueprint by January - September 15, 2021
The Interstate Bridge Replacement Program’s ambitious timetable calls for the bistate project’s office to produce a single recommended configuration for a replacement Interstate 5 Bridge in as little as four months, releasing the plan publicly in January. Officials from Vancouver, Portland, Metro and other regional governments and agencies generally appeared to be on board with the compressed schedule at a Wednesday morning meeting of the program’s Executive Steering Group, but several members urged the project staff to make sure the selection process remains comprehensive enough to avoid any surprise issues popping up later.
Oregon panel gives conditional OK to I-5 Rose Quarter freeway cover design - September 9, 2021
The Oregon Transportation Commission voted Thursday to give conditional approval to an updated design for the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project’s freeway cover component. The added conditions reflected skepticism expressed by multiple commissioners about whether the project would be able to obtain the estimated $400 million of additional funding that the new plan would require. The updated plan, referred to as “Hybrid 3,” was one of several options that the project office developed in conjunction with community groups and an outside consultant after the commission directed staff last year to take another look at the freeway cover plan and come up with new designs to provide greater restorative justice for the surrounding Albina neighborhood.
Ridgefield to celebrate Pioneer Street railroad overpass - September 1, 2021
Ridgefield residents won’t have to wait much longer to start using the new Pioneer Street railroad overpass. The $15 million project is wrapping up the final bits of construction and is targeted to open to traffic by the end of October. The last pieces of the security fence are about to be installed, according to Port of Ridgefield executive director Brent Grening. After that, the Washington State Department of Transportation and BNSF Railway will need to check the structure and sign off. “Once that’s done, it’s pretty much good to go,” he said.