In addition to the proposed East County Bridge, State Representative Liz Pike, (the same Liz Pike that citizens are rallying to write in as our Clark County Council Chair), is championing a new toll-free West County Bridge to provide a 3rd path across the mighty Columbia River to better connect our communities. She calls it the “I-5 Practical Design Flyover”. You can learn more about it here.
We eventually will also need a new west county corridor, an I-605 mirror image of our I-205. That project was defeated by Portland in the 1990s and will cost many billions. We will need a sea change in leadership in both Oregon and Washington in the future if that project is to succeed.
For now, we can take two simpler more affordable steps, a new lower cost additional toll-free bridge near the I-5 – Liz Pike’s proposal, and a new toll-free East County Bridge.
All citizens, east and west county, as well as all interstate traffic will be greatly improved by adding new paths across another critically important marine freight corridor, the Columbia River, that must also be uncompromised.
Too many citizens are stuck in traffic already. When we work together toward a vision, we can solve these problems.
We’ve had two elections on the East County Bridge. One that voters approved in the November 2013 General Election that asked voters county-wide if we should work to get a real proposal that would include an actual design, a maximum price less than $900 million, flexible financial terms, and an achievable time frame. The majority of voters said yes and directed their Clark County Commissioners to lead that charge. If successful, we would present those specifics to the voters for their approval in 2014.
We were successful. Figg Engineering, America’s largest and most respected bridge builder stepped up and provided a real design, quoted a price guaranteed to be less than our maximum, offered pre-approved multi-year financing, and guaranteed that they would complete everything including all design, permits, and construction within five years of receiving the green light.
We presented those specifics to the voters in the November 2014 General Election. Voters again said yes and directed their county commissioners to provide the local leadership, champion the project, share the vision, and build the support to succeed. We are doing that now.
Even though the majority of citizens throughout Clark County and in the city of Vancouver support the proposal, the Vancouver City Council has opposed it, preferring the CRC Light Rail Tolling project instead. The interchange at SR-14 and 192nd Avenue, where the bridge would connect, lies within Vancouver city limits. So that connection is effectively dead for now.
However, our east county neighbors in Oregon want us to move the bridge 3 miles further east (outside of Vancouver city limits) and joining the brainstorming effort to optimize a solution in that area. That is in the works. You will hear more about it as we gain momentum as a bi-state community with vision.
The original East County Bridge project is a proposal to build a third toll-free bridge across the Columbia River. It would be situated four miles east of the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge at 192nd Avenue and SR-14. Take a look at a cross section here.
The vision for this bridge was embraced by Clark County citizens in a November 2013 advisory vote. In response, Clark County Commissioners unanimously adopted the voter approved resolution that directed commissioners to provide leadership and to champion the project for the citizens. The directive included returning to the voters to present a more specific proposal once the design, cost, schedule, and financial terms were known.
All of the above information has since been researched and identified. This website provides those details for citizens to consider and evaluate. If Clark County voters embrace the project, commissioners will consult affected communities to proceed with the project harmoniously.
All local Oregon and Washington community leaders were invited to a televised presentation on July 25, 2014 where the design/build firms and transportation architect Kevin Peterson shared key reasons why this bridge is an ideal fit for our community. The design/build/transportation team is committed to completing the entire project within five years of the states’ approval. This meeting was attended by many community leaders along with hundreds of citizens.
The final proposal is all-inclusive, covering the full design cost, all environmental permits, the Coast Guard permit, and all construction costs in full compliance with all state and federal standards and guarantees that the total cost will be less than $860 million.
For a quick overview of our regional transportation needs and potential solutions by transportation architect Kevin Peterson, see this.
As a community, we must ensure that the affected jurisdictions approve of the project and that it is funded in full by both states. The project has full financial backing from a private firm offering multi-year financing that would allow public funds to be scheduled over time, rather requiring full payment upfront.
To learn more about the proposal, watch the video presentation on our Proposal page.
To view the area in Google Maps, click here.
If this bridge project is not supported by the voters of Clark County, no project, an alternate project elsewhere, or a resurrection of the CRC project may be considered at a future time. Whatever project succeeds, hopefully it will be because we as a community unite to ensure that it is built upon a foundation of good will and good sense.
For a tribute to Figg Engineering, the great American Company that designed and built the incredible bridge that replaced the I-35W Minneapolis Bridge that had collapsed into the river in 2007, enjoy this brief story here. These same Americans believe that our community too can fulfill a dream by building our own beautiful toll-free East County Bridge.
We succeeded in completing our second toll-free Columbia River Bridge just 32 years ago, the Glenn Jackson Bridge. Together, we can succeed again.
Clark County Commissioner
David’s public Facebook page with daily updates is here.
We can accomplish anything if we work together with good will.