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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 3, 2012 11:50 AM. The previous post in this blog was Have a great weekend. The next post in this blog is "Throw the book at the Ducks". Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Another Portland planning triumph

We're only $200 million into the endless "planning" of the new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River, and it just occurred to the geniuses involved to ask the Coast Guard how high above the water the bridge needs to be. And guess what -- it needs to be quite a bit higher than all the plans have contemplated so far. Throw another $100 million on the fire, honey.

Comments (35)

The hard truth is that a draw is necessary. Any bridge high enough to obviate that need will interfere with aviation. One more compelling reason to keep the bridges we have.

The toy planes using Pearson can easily be redirected to other airports in the region. That's one obstacle that must be cleared with no further consideration.

If only the Coast Guard had stood up to TriMet/City of Portland on the Milwaukie Max bridge. It's too low also. That's why TriMet is paying about 1.5 million to Portland Spirit and it's owners in part to cover the cost of lowering the height of the Portland Spirit.

Of course they could gain some height by dumping the lower deck.

The only reason for the lower deck is light rail on one bridge and bike/ped on the other.

Then build a separate bridge for the toy train. Of course, they would then NOT be able to hide several hundred million of the light rail cost in the highway budget. See: http://pdxtransport2.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/is-the-crc-a-3-billion-light-rail-project-with-a-380-million-highway-component/

Thanks
JK

One more reason to keep the existing bridge and build another bridge downriver at say, Kalama. But heaven forbid, that would add capacity, which the anti-car zealots would never allow. Sigh.

Even deleting the light rail section only gains 27 feet, still not enough for the Coast Guard. We could also delete the miles of highway building that accompany this project, too. That way they couldn't hide the billions in roads that aren't needed. Vancouverites knew about the traffic when they moved there. They can either monetize the congestion in the form of fees or deal with it in the form of time. We'll never be able to build enough roads, even if Jim Karlock was in charge.

The CRC is just about one of the most ill-conceived boondoggle projects there is. It's just as bad as the Mystery Train.

Apparently, the FAA doesn't want it raised, either, so it's caught between a rock and a hard place between them and the Coast Guard. Hopefully, this will kill it off once and for all. They need to just rebuild the rail bridge, so the Interstate Bridge won't have to be lifted except under extremely rare circumstances.

From what I've read, the clearance is too low for the U.S. Corp of Engineers dredge as well.

So we're not talking about "one or two vessels a year". $140 million for "planning", not one shovel-full of dirt moved, and the Oregon Supreme Court noted that it was all politically-driven in an effort to get Clark County to agree to loot rail.

As well, it's been noted that the current bridges are better able to withstand seismic activity than the Marquam. Maybe we should repair and re-use the existing bridges. Wouldn't that be, like, "green and sustainable"?

That way they couldn't hide the billions in roads that aren't needed. Vancouverites knew about the traffic when they moved there. They can either monetize the congestion in the form of fees or deal with it in the form of time.

Using your supposition then, logically, their repeated refusals to support taxes to bring light rail to Vancouver should be honored as well. Instead, they are scheduled to get both light rail tax assessments and bridge tolls for a service they don't want or need for a bridge that is not adding one extra lane over the river that is not presently already there.

You argument is a bit like the current progress of this whole project: it's not going anywhere.

The CRC runners are grifters.

Grifters only care about what they can skim, not who else is damaged. They don't give a Stenchy's patoot about the ramifications of their actions distant either spatially or temporally.

I was taught to assume incompetence over malevolence so, not having proof, I must assume they have child-like minds before judging them to be sociopaths.

Of course, should any documented proof to the contrary appear....

"But the CRC’s director said Wednesday that the height issue has come as a surprise"

This is what you get for $130M worth of planning these days. What a huge piss-away of our money.

Can't we incorporate the old Sauvies Island bridge into the design and grandfather the height restrictions? Same question for Sellwood and Milwaukie bridge.

Redo the rail bridge downriver, $50 million, and you eliminate 95% of the bridge lifts occurring today, because the vessels can easily pass under the Oregon side rise under the existing spans. (the reason they can't go on that side now is that they can't get back to the Washington side fast enough to pass under the RR bridge lift span). Then then everybody could be happy. Traffic peaked in 2004 anyway, and is going to decline sharply as gas prices surge, so there's no justification for any expansion of the I-5 spans anyway, especially since it would just bottleneck in north Portland anyway.

Redo the RR bridge and stop.

Google spencer boomhower and crc
http://vimeo.com/20762135

Sounds like another $40 million for David Evans and Henchmen.

You would think the "Engineers" would have consulted with Coast Guard, given that it's a navigable waterway. Maybe we should send them an email addy for the Army Corp of Engineers and the BPA.

They might have something to add also.

"As well, it's been noted that the current bridges are better able to withstand seismic activity than the Marquam."

I don't think the I-5 bridge has had a Phase I seismic retrofit that the Marquam does. With those 700 ton counterweights perched on towers a hundred feet or so above the bridge deck, vertical lift bridges like this (and the Steel Bridge and Hawthorne Bridge) will be the first ones in the river in a major earthquake.

http://www.columbian.com/news/2011/jan/26/I-5-Bridge-safety-earthquakes/

I've commented several times about how important bridge heights are to navigation around our Metro. It seems that our pols/bureaucrats/planners are operating with only one agenda.

The MLR ped/bike bridge has the same problem as CRC. If the MLR bridge spanned the Willamette as planned even the barges/cranes being used to build the Sellwood Bridge would not be able to pass.

If the railroad bridge in LO is ever refurbished, or reused as a ped/bike bridge, construction equipment would have a difficult time reaching it. Same with any industry, needs that might be needed upriver to Oregon City and even beyond through the locks.

Essentially our so-called Planners are boxing our selves in. Where has the city officials, Clackamas Co. officials upriver been on this issue, besides the Coast Guard and other potential businesses that should be thinking about their/our future?

Don,
Thank you for the information that TriMet is paying Portland spirit to cover the cost of lowering the height of the Portland Spirit.

Lee,
Good points. As soon as I read that Portland Spirit had to be lowered, I thought about other river traffic that might be needed in the future. This makes no sense to put any kind of block to future needs. But then what does make sense these days?

According to: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/03/new_columbia_river_crossing_br.html

the Coast Gaurd has been telling them the bridge is to low. Apparently our pol have auto filtered their emails to the good 'ol round file.

“I think the CRC sincerely felt like they had a deal with the Coast Guard, and we accepted that."

Usually, in engineering problems, you need to KNOW rather than feel.

you need to KNOW rather than feel.

Hey. It wasn't just feeling. It was sincere feeling.

John D, perhaps we have to fish-slap them in the face in a way they would understand -- a line from one of their gods comes to mind:

She looked ahead, at the haze that melted rail and distance, that could rip apart at any moment to some shape of disaster. She wondered why she felt safer than she had ever felt in a car behind the engine, safer here, where it seemed as if, should an obstacle rise, her breast and the glass shield would be the first to smash into it. She smiled grasping the answer:it was the security of being first, with full knowledge and full sight of one's course -- not the blind sense of being pulled into the unknown by some unknown power ahead. It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust, but to know.

Atlas Shrugged

Andrew S: Even deleting the light rail section only gains 27 feet, still not enough for the Coast Guard.
JK: How much is enough for the Coast Guard?
The Oregonian article says one user needs 120 ft, which is 25 ft above the currently planned 95 ft. If correct, dumping the toy train WOULD solve the problem. With 2 ft to spare.

Andrew S: We could also delete the miles of highway building that accompany this project, too.
JK: What miles of highway building????
All is see are several interchanges that are OK, but not great, running up the cost to the point that tolls are needed. Said tolls, just happened to be one scheme to get the Feds to pay 100% of the cost of the crime train.

Andrew S: Vancouverites knew about the traffic when they moved there.
JK: So what?
Is that a reason to not solve a very solvable problem? Just build a bridge. Period. Costs under ½ billion. No tolls needed. (Of course the Goldschmidt/Katz/Adams/Metro/Trimet light rail mafia profiteers don’t get their multi billion dollar toy train.) See NoBridgeTolls.com

Andrew S: We'll never be able to build enough roads, even if Jim Karlock was in charge.
JK: That is simply not true. A few cities have resisted the greenies attempts to heard all of us into costly, slow, energy wasting, crime riddled transit by making roads more congested. They actually built added road capacity! Guess what - congestion went down! The trick is to build roads to match increased demand due to population growth (ands some increased driving per person). You know, like we do for water supply, telephone, sewers, and electric lines. See http://www.portlandfacts.com/roads/buildwayout.htm

Thanks
JK

George Anonymuncule Seldes: Traffic peaked in 2004 anyway, and is going to decline sharply as gas prices surge,
JK: Not really.
The actual experience is that, over time, people get more fuel efficient cars and drive just as much. After all driving is the most cost efficient, energy efficient and time efficient way to get around. (That should be highly valued in a region that prides itself on efficiency. As in efficient use of land.) BTW, did you know that driving is cheaper than paying transit fare for most trips? See http://pdxtransport2.wordpress.com/2011/10/27/when-does-mass-transit-save-money-for-the-rider/

Further, with fracking, which caused the price of methane to fall 80%, starting to be applied to oil, we can foresee lower gasolene prices as oil prices crash world wide. (Already the USA has cut oil imports from around 60% to around 45%.) This will cut off the flow of money to the terrorists in oil supplying counties (increasing our security and reducing our military costs), increase our standard of living by lowering transportation costs (and putting more job options withing a reasonable commute cost) and put a big dent in our balance of payments problem.

If low cost oil does not happen, we can still make gasolene from methane and probably come in under $2 per gallon. (This has been done for decades - Google sasol, coal to liquid, natural gas to liquid)

Thanks
JK

Oh geez. You have to be kidding me. They had the height wrong? I'm not sure what the first thing is you do when you get into pricing out a new bridge. But I'm thinking one of the first 5 things is to answer the question, "How high?"

How could you even start to make a plan and an estimate without that knowledge. My god.

"How could you even start to make a plan and an estimate without that knowledge"

I can speculate about that:
If the plan never was to build anything. Only to spend vast amounts of money on consultants that would, in turn, give a percentage back to re-election campaigns. And maybe provide cushy jobs to the politicians after they leave office.

Thanks
JK

OHG, they got the height wrong by not asking all involved (and in this case rather important entities)? On the one hand, I'm not surprised at all. On the other hand it's just way too funny, and just a bit sad.

Has anybody compared the 2004-2011 Interstate Bridge crossing data with the Glenn Jackson Bridge? It could be some of those trips were simply displaced to a less congested alternative.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: personal vehicle transport isn't going away. The fuel/power mechanism and their relative efficiency are the only changes on the horizon for the next 50 years.

Eventually, we will have smart freeways with a primary power source embedded in them (electric would be my guess) for both mass transit and enabled vehicles. But cars will still prevail.

At that point, the car will need to be able to operate independently from the grid for precisely those transits (like the "new" CRC) that cannot be retrofitted with the new technology due to their design constraints. That is, they will need to be autonomously powered for those occassions when they have to go off the grid.

why can't they start replacing all the bridges with tunnels?

If the plan never was to build anything. Only to spend vast amounts of money on consultants that would, in turn, give a percentage back to re-election campaigns.

Do the name Tom Markgraf strike a familiar note?

Yes, Tom Markgraf strikes a familiar note...over $250K notes per year taken out our taxpayer pockets for consulting work on CRC for facilitating so-called citizen input.

Who knows how much his son has taken in consulting fees.

Speaking of toy trains and "smart" Portland planning, lefty, progressive mag Salon had an article just yesterday about how much smarter BRT looks compared to throwing billions away on light rail and streetcars...

http://www.salon.com/2012/03/03/its_time_to_love_the_bus/singleton/

If the plan never was to build anything...

Fixing the existing bottleneck is the last thing CoP or Metro would want to see happen. Let's not forget the mayor's office attempt to stonewall the Sellwood bridge replacement.

ONe would think the navigable height issue would be paramount for CRC, especially after having to pay $Millions for the Portland Spirit fiasco concerning the maybe to be completed MLR ped/bike bridge in downtown Portland.

MLR's bridge navigable height is only 65 ft at the two piers cresting at only 77 ft in the middle. That is certainly boxing in commerce. Why do it again on the Columbia?

Let us take this back to elementary,
perhaps even to an elementary class project,
would not one of the first questions those kids would have asked
is what the height should be?

This is embarrassing, ridiculous and one can only wonder what else has not been addressed correctly not only in this project but in a myriad of others?


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