Columbia River Crossing
Vancouver’s Downtown Association was a supporter of the Columbia River Crossing Project. Due to complicated funding issues, this bridge project is not going to become a reality. We want to assure you all that we will continue to focus on creating the kind of downtown that will be successful for the long haul. We will continue to work with property owners and their tenants. We will continue to lead projects to enhance the safety, appearance, walkability, and connectivity of our downtown. And, we will continue to promote our downtown as a place full of opportunity where everyone’s success is our goal.
We invite you to continue to partner with us as we work toward our mutual vision of a modern, vital city center.
The information that follows can serve as background for why we believed so strongly in this project.
The original bridge was built in 1917. The second span was added in 1952. Both are built on wooden pilings that do not reach bedrock. Both were built without a clue what the traffic demands would be in our modern day. In fact, this 5 mile portion of Interstate 5 has the highest accident rate in Oregon and Washington.
Some project benefits and CRC facts:
- The project will generate 12,000 direct constructionelopment jobs during its six year construction phase, in addition to 3,000 indirect and 5,000 induced.
- “The Costs of Congestion Study” quantified the future job loss due to delayed freight times:, 6,500 jobs annually by 2025 without the bigger bridge.
- An estimated 2.3 million trucks haul goods and freight in Clark County (2007). $26.4 billion in value of goods and freight move through Clark County each year. $3.2 billion is paid to employees who work in freight-generating business in Clark County alone.
- Freight generators employed 66,057 workers in 2007 (51% of the County’s employment) with an average wage 4% above the county average.
- The forecast for freight volumes is expected to double in 30 years.
- 45% of Clark County’s industrial employment is concentrated in the southwest area and uses I-5.
- Without the bigger bridge and other recommended regional investments, the six hours of daily congestion today currently will increase to 15 hours daily.
- Without the bridge, the number of accidents will increase as the congestion increases from 300 to 600 per year.
The Record of Decision Mitigation Matrix in Appendix A identifies mitigation for a variety of impacts, such as direct and temporary impacts related to property acquisition and loss of access as well as temporary construction impacts. Directly related to the mitigation of construction impacts, CRC presented construction mitigation information to VDA members at the VDA quarterly breakfast meeting in October of 2012.
A couple of months later, CRC staff conducted door-to-door visits with downtown business owners to share information about construction mitigation commitments and upcoming utility fieldwork. The staff provided business owners with the Downtown Vancouver Construction fact sheet and Utility Fieldwork fact sheet. They also gathered input on and made adjustments to the utility fieldwork schedule that minimized impacts to business and residents. The door-to-door outreach for the utility fieldwork (geotechnical and utility exploration borings) is one is example of how the project is working and will continue to work with individual business owners to minimize construction impacts.
Where VDA stands:
Having been at the table for planning and community discussion since the project was first introduced, Vancouver’s Downtown Association has been on record as supporting the locally preferred alternative.
What will our position be once funding is secured and a project is on its way?
- VDA will be a trusted conduit from the merchants to the project and visa versa.
- VDA will work to make sure that the contractor selection process puts a high priority on finding the contractor that has experience with delivering the project with a great deal of sensitivity to the project area. Our downtown businesses must be supported in their need for consideration, information, and respect.
- VDA will be an on-the-job partner for the project as it progresses. Quick communication and problem solving will be top priorities.
- VDA will find creative solutions to keep customers coming and businesses doing what they do best.
- VDA will be accessible. We will form a merchant committee to help guide our decisions and inform project partners. And, VDA will be the advocate that our downtown stakeholders can count on.