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Author Topic: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock  (Read 12651 times)

Bickendan

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Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« on: October 25, 2010, 01:42:18 AM »

A letter to the editor in today's Sunday Oregonian:

Quote
After reading the story in the October 17 Parade Magazine about the new bridge that bypasses Hoover Dam on the Arizona-Nevada border, something struck me as odd. I reread the article and discovered that this modern marvel cost only $240 million to build. Then I checked on how much it cost to rebuild the Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis after it collapsed three years ago: approximately $234 million.

Can anyone explain to those of us who will pay for it why the proposed I-5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River will cost $3.6 billion?

Kill the project, says I.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2011, 03:28:40 AM by Bickendan »
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andytom

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2010, 01:13:26 PM »

Heathen!!!  Blasphemy!!!   :sombrero:
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KEK Inc.

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2010, 02:47:32 PM »

Glad I moved out to Seattle... 
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Alps

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2010, 08:45:41 PM »

Land values tied to property acquisition, demolition of existing structure while maintaining traffic, geological features of the area.  Note that the US 93 Hoover Dam bridge is on a new alignment in the middle of the desert, anchored to rock.  The I-35W bridge had already collapsed, so it could be rebuilt in place (no new property, you already have the foundations).  Now compare to I-5.

andytom

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2010, 09:57:33 PM »

Add to that the fact that the project is not just the bridge but a 5 mile stretch of hwy involving rework of 7 existing interchanges, none of them standard designs, from SR 500 to Victory Blvd/Interstate Ave/Delta Park.

--Andy
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froggie

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2010, 07:30:07 AM »

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The I-35W bridge had already collapsed, so it could be rebuilt in place (no new property, you already have the foundations).

Not quite the case.  There were some minor ROW easements involved.  And the new bridge involved all-new foundations.

The main thing with the 35W bridge, naturally, was traffic control requirements were minimal.  And it only involved about about 2,000ft of bridge and 2/3mi of roadway.

A more appropriate comparison to the I-5 Columbia River crossing would be the Wilson Bridge project in the DC area.
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Tarkus

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2010, 03:40:28 PM »

Kill the project, says I.

I concur fully.  The price tag associated with the CRC has for a long time seemed a tad ridiculous--and tolling the infernal thing adds insult to injury.  

Additionally, there's been some independent financial analyses out there that suggest it'll actually cost closer to $10 billion when all is said and done (see here), and that the plans among some CRC supporters to also toll the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge may be illegal.

The Big Dig was only $14.6 billion after all the cost overruns.  The Wilson Bridge project froggie cited, by all estimates, appears to be only $2.5 billion--and isn't a toll road.

Idaho's estimate on widening basically the entirety of US-95 to 4 lanes is only in the $1-2 billion range, too, as I recall (and that road goes through some pretty hairy terrain).

The cost could maybe come down if Pearson Airfield weren't being a pain.  But if you're going to spend anywhere from $3.6 to 10 billion dollars on a transportation project, replacing an existing free bridge with a toll bridge without much real benefit on capacity is a total crock.  For that kind of money, you could possibly get a third bridge across the Columbia.  

-Alex (Tarkus)

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corco

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2010, 06:23:21 PM »

Quote
Idaho's estimate on widening basically the entirety of US-95 to 4 lanes is only in the $1-2 billion range, too, as I recall (and that road goes through some pretty hairy terrain).

Wait, really? That number sounds right for the Lewiston to Canada part that they're currently (very slowly) getting going on, but not the part south of there

myosh_tino

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 12:42:38 AM »

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Can anyone explain to those of us who will pay for it why the proposed I-5 replacement bridge across the Columbia River will cost $3.6 billion?
$3.6 billion?  Is that all?  

The new eastern span of the Bay Bridge is going to cost close to $6 billion and it's already a toll bridge.  Of course most of the cost is because Brown and Brown (Jerry and Willie) wanted a "signature span" instead of a plain causeway.  To pay for the "extras", the tolls were raised on all Bay Area bridges $1 to $4.  The tolls have since increased another $1 to $5 to fund seismic work on two relatively recent bridges (Antioch and Dumbarton).  Bay Bridge drivers are now paying $6 during commute hours (so called "congestion pricing").

Regarding the I-5 bridge over the Columbia, I think it is definitely in need of replacing given the fact that one span is darn near 100 years old and the other is over 50.  Both cross a major shipping channel, the Columbia River, and carries a major west coast freeway over it's span.  I don't think the region can afford to have this segment of I-5 lost for any extended period of time due to damage (from old age to earthquakes).  If people are up in arms about the cost of the proposed crossing, I'm kind of surprised no one has thought about replacing the existing bridge with a new, no frills, 6-lane bridge.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 12:55:32 AM by myosh_tino »
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Quote from: golden eagle
If I owned a dam and decided to donate it to charity, would I be giving a dam? I'm sure that might be a first because no one really gives a dam.

KEK Inc.

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 05:14:13 AM »

The Bay Bridge is about a mile long.  The Interstate Bridge is barely half a mile.  The Bay Bridge goes over channels exceeding 50'.  The channel in the Columbia River is 30'.  Caltrans should have strict building code for earthquakes, and they're building the largest S.A.S. bridge in the world.  :P
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Tarkus

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 03:42:09 PM »

Wait, really? That number sounds right for the Lewiston to Canada part that they're currently (very slowly) getting going on, but not the part south of there

It's possible I saw it misquoted--I'm trying to find the source.  It seemed a bit on the low side, so you may be correct.

If people are up in arms about the cost of the proposed crossing, I'm kind of surprised no one has thought about replacing the existing bridge with a new, no frills, 6-lane bridge.

We've got the same problem you have:

Of course most of the cost is because Brown and Brown (Jerry and Willie) wanted a "signature span" instead of a plain causeway.

Just replace the Browns with Portland Mayor Sam Adams, who used the exact phrase you quoted on several occasions.

-Alex (Tarkus)


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myosh_tino

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« Last Edit: October 27, 2010, 06:33:34 PM by myosh_tino »
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Quote from: golden eagle
If I owned a dam and decided to donate it to charity, would I be giving a dam? I'm sure that might be a first because no one really gives a dam.

Tarkus

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2010, 12:09:04 AM »

Just found this a few minutes ago:

http://www.thirdbridgenow.com/

The proposal there apparently involves a six-lane freeway connecting from the Mill Plain exit on the Vancouver side, curving over in the industrial area just south of Smith and Bybee Lake and crossing the Willamette to meet with US-30 near Linnton.  Seems like it avoids the main NIMBY points, by avoiding Sauvie Island and going through industrial areas.  It also doesn't really cut into West Hayden Island, either.  In addition, it comes rather close to the existing alignment of OR-120 (Portland Road/Swift Hwy).

-Alex (Tarkus)

Edit: Removed redundant "also".
« Last Edit: November 13, 2010, 12:39:00 AM by Tarkus »
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Zmapper

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #14 on: November 13, 2010, 12:33:48 AM »

I don't think Vancouver is going to let a viaduct cut their downtown in half.
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Bickendan

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #15 on: November 14, 2010, 04:42:29 AM »

I would have put the third bridge farther west, more akin to the 'Rivergate Freeway' proposals from the 1970s.
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Tarkus

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #16 on: February 26, 2011, 07:12:37 PM »

Bumping this, as there's some new news.  ODOT and WSDOT are proposing a simpler deck-truss bridge for the CRC, more similar to the Marquam and Glenn Jackson bridges, that will only cost $340 million--much closer to the $234 million figure on the I-35W replacement bridge in Minnesota.

Here's an artist rendering (via the OregonLive article I linked above):



It's a double-deck bridge . . . but the bottom is apparently just light rail, pedestrian and bike facilities.  That kind of seems like a waste given that the thing's going to be 10 lanes wide.  It's also a fair bit cheaper, but they also still apparently want to impose tolls, which is ridiculous at this lower price tag.  I'm still in favor of a third bridge idea (though not the one proposed by the Third Bridge Now folks), but I could maybe live with this one if the tolls weren't part of the deal.

-Alex (Tarkus)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 07:14:28 PM by Tarkus »
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xonhulu

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Re: Columbia River Crossing Price Sticker Shock
« Reply #17 on: February 26, 2011, 11:22:35 PM »

Agree with you on the tolls and the 3rd bridge.  I'll be surprised to ever see another bridge, though, given the grief encountered by the CRC.

This deck-truss was definitely the way to go, not just for cost reasons.  As the Oregonian article mentions, there are no towers near PDX to worry about.  Plus, the design looks good and fits in with other area bridges.  While some of the other options might have looked more impressive, in the end it's nice to see economy and functionality win out.
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