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The Common Sense Alternative

    Let’s be clear up front, our Alliance is NOT endorsing any particular alternative to the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA). We emphasize that it’s vitally important the decision makers have the choice of multiple alternatives, and in particular the need for one or more alternatives that can be built out in phases. We’re happy to give some air time to alternatives that have been promoted from the community.

    Today we want to share the “Common Sense Alternative”. This is what we would describe as a “supplemental bridge” alternative. It emerged during the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) debate more then ten years ago and has been refined since, with the current version being knowns as the “CSA II”.

    Image of proposed bridge locations for Common Sense Alternative
    Image of proposed bridge locations for Common Sense Alternative

    The CSA was generated by architects, transit planners and other community members.

    Here are some key features of the CSA:

    • Adds a new seismically sound (mid-level with lift span) Columbia River freeway bridge. It would have three through lanes (of which one is designated for high-occupancy vehicles) plus one auxiliary lane in each direction [as with the LPA proposal, the Alliance disputes that any lane on which an Interstate trip could be made is really an auxiliary lane]. 
    • Retains the existing Columbia River bridge which would be re-purposed for transit, bikes, walking & rolling and one lane of local traffic in each direction. It would also provide a detour route in a major traffic incident on the new bridge. 
    • Adds a new seismically sound Portland Harbor bridge for transit, bikes, walking & rolling and one lane of local traffic in each direction  
    • Retains the existing freeway Portland Harbor bridge as proposed in the original CRC, and moves the bike/ped lane to new bridge and repurposes the old lane for exclusive northbound Hayden Island access.   
    • Extends TriMet Light Rail and C-Tran Bus Rapid Transit to a Transfer Hub on Hayden Island that would also serve other local bus routes. 
    • The downstream railroad bridge would be updated with a re-aligned opening span, eliminating the need to open the I-5 bridge for commodity barge traffic. Proponents recommend this be the first phase, with immediate benefits including eliminating a significant navigational hazard. 

    Motivations for this approach include:

    • Reuse as much existing infrastructure as possible
    • Much smaller footprints on Hayden Island and downtown Vancouver
    • Avoids rebuilding the Marine Drive interchange and several interchanges on the Washington side

    We would note that the IBR project has dismissed the CSA as not meeting the project’s Purpose and Need statement. Proponents do not share this view (you can see their arguments at the AORTA website). Please take a moment to review the proponent’s CSA slide deck (PDF, 1MB) comparing the CSA and CRC/IBR LPA.