RuneE is sponsoring this monthly challenge on the first Monday of every month. Building Bridges is subject to open interpretation.
This bridge is one between states -- it takes one from Washington to Oregon or from Oregon to Washington -- the two cities are Portland and Vancouver. It crosses the Columbia River. It is called the I-5 bridge named because it connects the two states. It is a vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian bridge across the Columbia River. Trains have a separate bridge. This bridge completes the Interstate all the way from Mexico to Canada. I have included some history of the I-5 bridge below if you care to learn more.
First I-5 bridge
The bridge was built to replace an overcrowded ferry system operated by Pacific Railway, Light & Power Co. Construction on the bridge began in March 1915, following the sale of bonds.The first bridge was opened on February 14, 1917 at a cost of $1.75 million, which was shared between Clark County in Washington and Multnomah County in Oregon. WA paid $500,000 with OR paying $1,250,000. The first bridge had a total of 13 steel spans with three measuring 275 ft (84 m) in length while the remaining ten spans were 265 ft (80 m) long. One of the 275-ft spans is the lift span for allowing river traffic by the bridge. The original paved roadway was 38 ft (12 m) wide and had a 5-ft (1.5-m) wide sidewalk. It was the first automobile bridge across the river between Washington and Oregon, and the second to span the river at all, after the Wenatchee Bridge of 1908. It was originally a toll bridge costing 5¢ per person. In 1929 the states of Washington and Oregon jointly purchased it from the counties and subsequently removed the tolls.
In 1958 a $14.5 million upgrade created a southbound span and doubled the capacity of the bridge. The new bridge was built with a "humpback" that provides 72 ft (22 m) of vertical clearance and minimizes bridge openings. At the time the new bridge was opened, the old one closed to give it the matching humpback. When both bridges were opened in 1960, tolls were reinstated at $.20 for cars, $.40 for light trucks, and $.60 for heavy trucks and buses, before being permanently removed in 1966.
A $3 million upgrade to the lift cables, expansion joints, and a deck repaving was completed in 1990. The diesel generator used to power the lift was replaced in 1995 at a cost of $150,000. In 1999 the bridge was repainted at a cost of $17 million. A $10.8 million electrical upgrade was completed in mid-May of 2005.
The bridge is 3,538 ft (1,078 m) long with a main span of 531 ft (162 m). The vertical lift provides 176 ft (54 m) of clearance when opened. The lift takes 10 minutes to open and does so between 10 and 20 times per month. In 2001 the 6 lanes of the bridges carried 120,000 vehicles including 10,000 trucks, operating at capacity for four hours every day.
Components of the bridge were manufactured and prepared for assembly in Gary, Indiana.
Currently, many traffic engineers consider the bridge to be obsolete, both due to its age and its limited capacity. The bridge is frequently a bottleneck which impacts both traffic on the freeway, as well as on the river. The Oregon and Washington state departments of transportation are jointly studying how to replace the bridge. The estimated cost for a replacement bridge is around $2 billion.
A replacement (especially a fixed span bridge) is complicated by a railroad drawbridge crossing the Columbia a short distance downriver, which constrains the location of the shipping channel; and by approach paths to Portland International Airport in Portland and to Pearson Field Airport in Vancouver, which limit the height of any new structure. Some have proposed replacing the bridge in a different location. There are presently 12 transportation plans that are being studied to improve and expand the Interstate 5 crossing of the Columbia River. In late 2006, 2-4 of these plans will be selected for a final proposal.
There is also a long standing debate as to whether or not a new bridge would include a MAX Light Rail line, express buses or bus rapid transit. During his 2007 "State of the City" address, Vancouver mayor Royce Pollard stated
“I've said it before, but it bears repeating – Vancouver and Clark County residents have the cheapest buy-in to one of the most successful light-rail systems in the world, the MAX system. There is over $5 billion invested in light rail across the river. We can tap into that system at a very minimal cost. We’d be foolish not to. The bi-state Columbia River Crossing initiative is making plans for the future of our community for 50 years and beyond. This project should not happen without integrating light rail that comes into downtown Vancouver. If the final alternative doesn’t have a light rail component, I will not support it."
The symbol above is for a new meme that Katney started recently .
Most stop signs are perpendicular. I have no idea why this one is slanted to the right -- maybe to get the drivers' attention? I investigated and it doesn't look like it was the mishap of a car accident. . .