PORTLAND - The U.S. Department of Transportation has given a green light to the I-5 Columbia River Crossing project.

Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood said Wednesday that Plans to replace the aging Interstate 5 Columbia River Crossing Bridges and build an interstate transit link can now move forward.

This gives final clearance to the project's environmental review and allows Oregon and Washington to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction.

During a recent interview with KGW's Tracy Barry in Washington D.C., LaHood pledged upcoming support for the project.

More: Tracy Barry talks with Ray LaHood

The Columbia River Crossing project will replace the I-5 bridges over the Columbia River that connect Vancouver to Portland at a cost of approximately $3 billion.

It's part of a comprehensive solution to address safety and congestion problems on five miles of I-5 from State Route 500 in Vancouver to Victory Boulevard in Portland and will be funded through a combination of state and federal sources.

In addition, numerous improvements to bike/pedestrian facilities will accommodate the bridge s 1,000 daily pedestrians and 5,000 daily bicyclists anticipated by 2030.

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