VANCOUVER, Wash. -- The Bicycle Transporation Alliance opposes a planned interstate corridor between Washington and Oregon, despite the extension of bicycle lanes included in the proposed project.

Planners said the Columbia River Crossing would reduce traffic congestion by extending light rail, bicycle and pedestrian options between Vancouver and Portland. Seven interchanges across the Columbia River would be affected by the project and the I-5 bridge will be replaced, according to project's goals.

More on I-5 Bridge

The cost for the project was estimated at between $3.1 billion and $4.2 billion, part of which would be funded by tolls.

Back in February, the mayors of Portland and Vancouver agreed on details of the Interstate-5 bridge across the Columbia River. A few days later, the Portland City Council also voted to approve the latest bridge plan; a compromise aimed at supporting the environment, funding and funneling traffic.

However, Scott Bricker, Executive Director for the BTA, said his organization does not agree that the Columbia Crossing will help the environment.

"Widening the freeway to move more cars will generate more traffic in Portland and in Clark County, will speed up climate change by releasing more greenhouse gases, and will spew pollutants into the air around North Portland and Vancouver neighborhoods," Bricker said. "Building bigger freeways is not the solution to the congestion or environmental problems the region is facing."

Bricker said BTA members believe there must be other options for improving transportation between Vancouver and Portland that don't require expanding the freeway.

"Expanding the freeway and constructing six new massive interchanges will do tremendous damage to the bike friendliness of communities around the project," he said.

The is a Portland-based non-profit membership organization working to promote bicycling and improve bicycling conditions in Oregon and SW Washington.


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