Archive for February 10th, 2012

February 10, 2012

Columbia River Crossing, The Bridge To Bankruptcy

by lewwaters

Bridges almost always end up with nick names as taxpayers cast aside the official designated name and express their views of them through locally attached names. We saw that with the Tacoma Narrows Bridge nicknamed “Galloping Gertie” due to peculiar gyrations and pitching those crossing experienced before it collapsed in a wind storm just 4 months after it opened in November 1940.

Sometimes the name is complimentary, such as “The Bridge of the Gods” up by Cascade Locks and sometimes the name expresses disgust at a high cost that isn’t justifiable, such as Alaska’s Gravina Island Bridge nicknamed “A Bridge To Nowhere” since it was projected to cost $398 million to connect Ketchikan with Gravina Island, a small community of about 50 people and a small single runway airport, accessed by ferry in about 7 minutes.

Locally, we have the Columbia River Crossing seeking to replace the aging but serviceable spans of the I-5 Bridge across the Columbia River connecting Washington and Oregon that with the forced inclusion of extending Portland’s financially troubled Max Line light rail a short distance into Vancouver is projected to cost about $4 Billion, before figuring in interest on bonds and the to be expected cost overruns. Once those are added, it is estimated to cost upwards of $10 Billion or more.

Saying the project is contentious is an understatement as it has been brought up in every political campaign for a number of years now. Current Vancouver mayor, Tim Leavitt campaigned heavily on not tolling residents for the bridge project, only to totally reverse his stand almost as soon as he was announced the winner. Our nickname for him now is “Tim ‘the liar’ Leave-it,” indicating how Vancouver citizens are disgusted with him and want him to leave office.

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