PORTLAND -- The Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Skagit river that collapsed Thursday evening and the Interstate bridge connecting Vancouver and Portland share many similarities.
Both are I-5 river crossings with the same general design, and both are rated as functionally obsolete.
The fact that the Skagit bridge fell brings up questions about whether we should push to fund a replacement for the CRC.
“Absolutely not, the two are completely unrelated. What we had was a horrible accident caused by an over sized load that did damage to the bridge. But it has absolutely nothing to do with the Columbia River crossing,” said Washington State senator Don Benton who is not in favor of the $3.4 billion Columbia River bridge project.
The bridge would replace the current interstate bridge, parts of which date back to 1917. Oregon has approved the bridge but Washington has not. Both states need to come up with a funding model by September to get federal money for the project.
“We’ve known for a long time the I-5 crossing of the Columbia is unsafe, unreliable, and outdated. This doesn’t change that. I think it does demonstrate how important that transportation infrastructure,” said Rep. Tobias Read of Beaverton. “I think people who haven’t thought about what it means to have an I-5 disruption will have a chance to see that.”
The interstate bridge is functionally obsolete, which means the design is old. A structurally deficient bridge would mean in needs to be fixed.
The Oregon Department of Transportation said in a big earthquake, there's reason to believe the interstate bridge, like most of the major bridges in Portland, would fall.