CRC – Part II

Columbia River I-5 Bridge

Columbia River I-5 Bridge

The Aug. 11th, Vancouver’s, Columbian editorial, “It’s time to move forward“, was insightful and accurate. Like many, I was prepared to accept that the Columbia River Crossing was dead. However, it looks like there may be a glimmer of life left in the idea. More than $170 million, countless man-hours of expert engineering data, and nearly a decade of time is invested in this project. Our State and Federal leaders must exhaust all avenues before giving up. And so I was elated when I discovered Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is working on a last ditch effort, “Oregon Lite…CRC”, http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/08/crc_lite_oregon_should_build_a.html, to still work with the CRC project and breath life into this extremely important project.

What surprised me (yet again) was the apparent anger and resentment by the Republican coalition of the Washington state Senate to even consider another idea. Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, made reference to Oregon Gov. Kitzhaber as, “uncooperative”, for even bringing forth this unique idea. Our leaders should be looking at all ideas to fix a problem — not to kill a possible solution. Such attitudes and actions tell me people’s own agendas, or egos, seem to have more value to them than looking for compromise that can address this big problem that faces the largest roadway on the Western side of North America — Interstate 5.

To value ego over the possibility of a good idea to help find a solution to the I-5 crossing is not good leadership. It is not leadership at all.

We can and must do better.

Crossing the Columbia

InterstateBridge

In the Portland metro area there are only two ways by car to cross the Columbia River, the I-5 Bridge and the I-205 bridge. And that’s it for the foreseeable future now that the Washington state legislature has rejected funding a new bridge via a Republican controlled Senate coalition. Is there an issue about this commute to PSU that affects students and their decision to attend the university?

The current I-5 Bridge was built in 1917 with a twin section completed in 1958. As the only drawbridge on the entire length of Interstate 5, it has the only stop sign on this important freeway. Hundreds of thousands of cars cross it daily going either north or south, and 60,000 vehicles alone travel from Vancouver to Portland per day for employment. It is a crucial connection for greater Portland and the entire West Coast.

The design of the bridge, although an engineering achievement in 1917, is now being used far beyond its design capabilities. The bridge’s wooden pilings are not set in the bedrock beneath the river but in the sandy bottom, thus increasing many times, the damage an earthquake could cause. Hours-long traffic snarls occur on a daily basis.

How amy PSU students find commuting to the university hindered by this ancient bridge? How many students find they must attend another university because they simply cannot rely upon a commute to Portland utilizing this old bridge with its traffic nightmares?

Students, faculty or staff of PSU, what do you think?


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