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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 25, 2011 8:41 AM. The previous post in this blog was Little guys turning their backs on Obama. The next post in this blog is Third 'dog's a charm. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Span of inattention

People keep sending us the latest propaganda about, and media coverage of, the Interstate Bridge replacement project -- the proposed new I-5 bridge between Portlandia proper and the 'Couv. So far, something like $150 million of public money has been spent on arguing, planning, environmental-impact-assessing, designing, charretting, and endless posturing about the span -- and of course, there's little to show for that much money.

Everybody and her sister seem to be piping up with some pet point or other. There's no consensus on what the bridge should look like, what it should carry, how it should be aligned, or even whether to build it at all. It's not clear who, if anyone, is in charge. There are all sorts of committees floating around -- a committee of committees, as it were -- and you simply can't build anything if you're going to operate like that.

We've watched all the gyrations for several years now, and we've got to admit that despite best efforts, we have found it hard to care much about any of it.

It's the I-5 freeway. Been there seemingly forever, and it's going to stay there. Lots of noisy, ugly motor vehicle traffic, 24/7/365.

It's a stupid place for a drawbridge, which is what we have now. But it's also a stupid place for a toll bridge, which is what we're going to get.

It probably isn't going to be "iconic"; the architecture dandies can pout all they want. It would be fine with us if it looked a lot like the Glenn Jackson Bridge on I-205, which more or less gets the job done, including for crazies who want to cross the country's second largest river on foot or bicycles.

Traffic on I-5 is not going to improve, with or without a new bridge. It may get worse, but it's not going to get better. I-5 is only two lanes wide through the central city of Portland, and nobody's talking about changing that -- especially not Congressman Bowtie, a car-hate evangelist who seems to control the purse strings. His agenda is getting a train installed.

Commuters between Portland and Vancouver aren't going to have their lives improved much, if at all, by a new bridge. Such is life. By choosing to live so far from work or school, they've made their lives difficult. Infrastructure can do only so much.

But the old bridge is a clunker, and now might be a good time to fix it or tear it down.

So battle on, mighty warriors, about the "Columbia River Crossing," or the interstate freeway bridge, or whatever you want to label it. By all means, keep us posted -- it's genuine entertainment. But most importantly, wake us when it's over.

Comments (20)

Were I King...
The existing I5 bridges would remain.
To satisfy the train freaks we run a few daily locals across the rail bridge that is just west of the I5 bridges and directly downtown PDX from the Couv...

And we build a western bypass that comes across and hooks into Hwy 30. That gives a path for all those trucks going in and out of the industrial areas.

If I were King..

>

If I were King..

*%)% It left out the zinger...

That I'd put Randy and Sam in stocks in the middle of Pioneer Square...

If I were King...

I'm an old fart -- I prefer "Minnesota Freeway Bridge."

Speaking of Minnesota, the replacement of the I-35 bridge and the repair of the collapsed sections of Los Angeles freeways from the Northridge earthquake come to mind. Timely and (relatively) inexpensive. A radical concept indeed...not much pork in it. Happened too quickly for the grifters to get involved.

Agreed, tankfixer. If ya' gotta' replace a bridge, the rail bridge needs it more. Trains tip-toe agross that thing as if it were made of glass and its opening section is in the wrong place.

A while back you posted an excellent YouTube that showed how we could leave I-5 bridges alone while eliminating 99%of the lifts due to barges by fixing the downstream RR bridge alignment with the river so that barges could get through under I-5 at it's highest point rather than making the lift span go up.

This is the most useful contribution anyone has made to the entire discussion. It is the most affordable, practical and greenest option. Will improve life greatly for motorists and not bankrupt the states.

Could you repost that link or put it in one of your sidebar archives?

There is much that could be done without costing billions in many arenas.
Prudence and intelligence needed, and add a dose of integrity!

tankfixer - Saltzman needs to go into the stocks too.

Maybe they should do a tunnel instead of a bridge.

A pox on both their houses.

I'm working in the Couv now (after 21 years working in Tualatin or Portland), as is my wife, and we'll be relocating to Camas before year-end (from Tigard).

Oregon can kiss our six-figure incomes goodbye. We'll limit our CRC/GJ bridge crossings to the low traffic days and times of our choosing.

I'm going to focus my attention on sending more Republicans to Olympia. Oregon is hopeless.

Maybe they should do a tunnel instead of a bridge.

In my view, we have already had a huge tunnel, a "tunnel of deception."

What is wrong with water ferries as in Puget Sound? Guess the light rail promoters wouldn't like that, nor would the developers.
Bicyclists might enjoy the water transportation to get them from one place to another.
Hasn't there been talk of a bridge to handle the trucks, and then that would assist in the congested freeway traffic?

I still think that our area would be perfect for water ferries. . over to Oregon City, out towards Troutdale, etc.
Has it ever been on the table for discussion?

Well, Tee, good luck. You're going to find that, thanks to gerrymandering, your chances of sending more pubes to Olympia are zero, since the districts are drawn so that you'll be in a GOP bastion.

There is no good idea or reasonable approach that is possible with the likes of Sam Adams and Rex Burkholder (et al) entrenched throughout every participating entity.

With Joe Cortright detailing that it is really a $10 billion project, $158 million has been spent on planing, David Evans and Assosiates has been paid $80 million alone, the CRC is renting luxury offices for 35K a month and noone seems to be able to provide accounting for all the money things could not be worse.
Metro signed off on it like it was just another bike path.

Even more problematic the local press is AWOL.

But here is much of what they ignore or omit.
http://couv.com/crc-light-rail-project/page/2

Mister Tee - You don't have enough money to make the Repugs care about you even though you think you do. They care about the super elite and that is it. I want to get out of the metro area too but I already know neither party has my best interests at heart. And yeah, I got the 6 figures think going on too.

A pox on both their houses.

Typo! you meant a pdx, didn't you?

The CRC is the great example of one of my favorite all time quotes:

"BUREAUCRACY; the art of making the possible impossible"

I think the argument the planning developers are trying to make is that the current bridge serves much more than commuters between the Couv and Portland.

They say that the bridge must be replaced because it is a vulnerable link in the I-5 West Coast commercial corridor and stands in danger of collapse if a big earthquake hits.

Or something like that.

Incisive.
Insightful.
Irreverent.
Irrefutable.

Moreover, delightfully offensive to those whose modus vivendi is based on theft by deception: Markgraf, et al...

Too bad these folks have the "shriveled shame gene".

What Jack said.

I worked in a machine shop that did repair work on the railroad bridge. I never went to the bridge myself but machinists that returned from working on it said the bull gear that opens the bridge is the original one and the teeth on the gear are almost worn out. The gear is down in the bowels of the support column and they said it would be almost impossible to get out. If it does give way the bridge won't open. Maybe they will have to do some major work on it before long


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