Bridge collapse & Oregon’s I-5 Bridge

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon

Policymakers in Oregon and Washington have been considering a replacement for the I-5 span over the Columbia River between the two States for a number of years. While the primary sticking points have been whether to build a bridge with a higher capacity and whether to include light rail lines over the bridge, a third debate – over the proposed height of the new bridge – has been brought into sharper focus by late March news events. In Maryland, a heavily loaded cargo ship leaving the Port of Baltimore apparently lost power and its ability to steer on March 26, eventually slamming into a bridge support. The accident caused the Francis Scott Key Bridge to collapse, plunging cars and people into the Patapsco River and closing the Port of Baltimore for the time being. Pacific Northwest policymakers ought to reconsider their objections to the Coast Guard’s safety regulations regarding how much clearance the new I-5 bridge needs over the Columbia. The last thing Oregon and Washington need is to see policy short-sightedness lead to cars and people plunging into the Columbia and a closure of the Port of Portland should a ship collide with the new I-5 bridge.

It must be noted, that the politicians’ demand that light rail be included on a Columbia replacement bridge not only means a lower bridge but also a spike in construction costs.

The recently built Portland Tillicum Bridge had lower clearance than the bridges adjacent to it according to Willamette Week.  It seems that Portland planners like to set their sights low.

Meanwhile, KGW reports that a few bridges in Oregon have the same structure as the Maryland bridge one.

KPTV has this news clip:

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