Op-Ed: Giving the green light to a new Columbia River bridge

Story Body

The only stoplight on Interstate 5 between Canada and Mexico is on the bridge over the Columbia River. As the governors of Washington and Oregon, we know that for too long the antiquated bridge has held our region back, literally and figuratively.

More than 138,000 vehicles cross the I-5 bridge each weekday. People travel between Vancouver and Portland for work, recreation, shopping, and visiting friends and family. The bridge’s importance to the entire region and our connectivity cannot be overstated.

This crucial link has become a major congestion point, and instead of moving the entire region full speed ahead, the bridge has become a symbol of traffic and frustration. Congestion can be so severe during morning and evening commutes that speeds on this interstate highway can be reduced to 15 miles per hour.

We’ve been stuck behind the traffic accidents – the rate of which quadruple during bridge lifts ­– and stuck behind one of our country’s worst freight bottlenecks that constrains the economy. We’ve been stuck with insufficient high-capacity transit and active transportation options even as our population centers grow. And we’ve been stuck behind a century-old structure built on river sand that’s susceptible to damage in even moderate earthquakes.

None of that benefits Oregonians, Washingtonians, and the millions of people who drive this stretch of highway every year.

For safety, traffic relief and jobs, we are recommitting to replacing the I-5 bridge.

Read the full op-ed here.

Media Contacts

Tara Lee
Governor Inslee’s Communications Office