Greg Johnson, administrator of the Interstate Bridge Replacement (IBR) project, is either making it up as he goes, or intentionally misleading taxpayers and the Washington and Oregon lawmakers.
On June 17th, he said a moveable span on the IBR would be “the largest lift span in the world”. Except it’s NOT.
Johnson said they have “never operated a span that size before.” But that’s not true!
How can Greg Johnson not know what the reality is just 8-10 miles away in Portland?
The Coast Guard prefers “unlimited vertical navigation clearance”, but the IBR must provide at least the 178 feet of vertical clearance the current bridges offer.
Portland has THREE bascule bridges which offer “unlimited” vertical clearance because they open in the middle. The Broadway Bridge was built in 1912, five years before the current Interstate Bridge. It offers 278 feet of horizontal clearance.
The IBR would need just 263 feet of horizontal clearance to match the current Interstate Bridge width.
The Burnside Bridge was built in 1926 & offers 252 feet of horizontal clearance.
The Morrison Bridge was built in 1958, the same year as the second span of the current Interstate Bridge. It offers 284 feet of horizontal clearance.
All 3 offer unlimited vertical navigation clearance, which is what the Coast Guard prefers for the IBR.
Two of those bridges offer MORE horizontal clearance than what the current Interstate Bridge provides, and yet Greg Johnson says the IBR would require the “largest lift span in the world”. It’s clearly FALSE because Portland has two that are larger.
In Chattanooga, the Market Street Bridge offers 358 feet of width when open. It was built in 1917 – the same year the original Interstate Bridge was built. That’s nearly 100 feet wider!
I-95 in our nation’s capital has two bascule bridges on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. They offer a total of 12 lanes for vehicle traffic. They handle 250,000 vehicles a day, according to Joe Cortright. Those 12 lanes are DOUBLE the capacity of the current Interstate Bridge!
TriMet wants Clark County to pay
A couple weeks ago, the TriMet Board voted to ask for NEW TAXES to pay for the operations and maintenance of extending MAX light rail into Vancouver.
TriMet is refusing to pay any O&M costs for operating MAX light rail once it comes into Washington. So they are demanding new taxes for Washington residents to operate Portland’s light rail.
TriMet is also demanding money to upgrade the Steel Bridge in Portland, and money to upgrade their maintenance facility in Gresham – all part of the Interstate Bridge Replacement project. A ton of pork barrel spending, just like the failed CRC.
Misleading on transit ridership
Greg Johnson and his team are also misleading people about transit demand. Presently, less than 1,000 people a day are crossing the Columbia River using transit. And that is for BOTH the I-5 and I-205 bridges.
Yet the IBR says we can expect 26,000 to 33,000 people a day to use transit on I-5 alone, by 2045. Nobody in their right mind believes we will have 33 times more people using mass transit to cross the Columbia River in the next 23 years, let alone on I-5.
The $5 billion boondoggle is nothing more than “a light rail project in search of a bridge. Exactly what an Oregon Supreme Court Justice said about the failed CRC!