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Author Topic: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?  (Read 8304 times)

OCGuy81

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Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« on: November 26, 2018, 02:21:50 PM »

I know some of this could border on fictional, but could there ever be a shot of this happening?

Let's say I 605, or even making 205 a full beltway.

Are there any viable corridors? The western burbs seem to be majority of the metro area's growth
« Last Edit: November 26, 2018, 02:26:07 PM by OCGuy81 »
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Hurricane Rex

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2018, 05:21:50 PM »

(This should be in fictional IMO) Yes it is possible, for $8 billion. ODOT and especially PBOT won't do it on their own.

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The Ghostbuster

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2018, 05:44:06 PM »

There was a western bypass of Portland proposed from 1988 to 1996. I found a webpage on the internet that gives information about the bypass, and why it wasn't built: http://www.peaktraffic.org/portland-western-bypass.html
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2018, 12:46:35 PM »

Yeah, no. There's some interest in improving throughput for freight from westside manufacturers to I-5 and PDX, but even then, without a new I-5 bridge are you really saving any time?

The southern part of the Westside Bypass isn't *too* complicated (for Oregon, anyway), because it's flattish farmland with only one river crossing. The challenges there are all political (and they are significant).

It's the middle third – through Hillsboro, (who wants to buy that ROW?) – and particularly the northern third that are problematic.

How does one build a freeway through the Tualatin Mountains? How does one pay for that?

Does one then connect that freeway to St. Johns (which means the Portland City Council gets a say) or directly to I-5 in Washington? If it's the latter, given that you are never going to get approval to build a freeway over Sauvie Island (political + wetlands), do you take it all the way up to St. Helens and cross the Columbia there? And that's where we are in the $8 billion range, which is, I think we can all agree, a jaw-dropping number.
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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2019, 01:53:43 PM »

If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains. 
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Hurricane Rex

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2019, 02:57:22 PM »



If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains.

Most prior plans have suggested a tunnel through the mountains.

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Hurricane Rex

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2019, 02:57:40 PM »



If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains.

Most prior plans have suggested a tunnel through the mountains.

LG-TP260

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sparker

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2019, 01:29:29 PM »



If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains.

Most prior plans have suggested a tunnel through the mountains.

LG-TP260



I was living in Portland when MAX was pushing the LR tunnel through the West Hills; if the Tualatin Mountains, essentially their northwestern extension, have a similar geologic profile (essentially mud on top of a pile of rocks), boring a tunnel would be an especially costly venture, since large boring heads tend to wear out or even break with such conditions.  Lots of traditional digging and blasting might be necessary to complete a project of this type; that would result in an extended construction period with correspondingly increased expenses. 
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Hurricane Rex

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2019, 01:53:01 PM »





If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains.

Most prior plans have suggested a tunnel through the mountains.

I was living in Portland when MAX was pushing the LR tunnel through the West Hills; if the Tualatin Mountains, essentially their northwestern extension, have a similar geologic profile (essentially mud on top of a pile of rocks), boring a tunnel would be an especially costly venture, since large boring heads tend to wear out or even break with such conditions.  Lots of traditional digging and blasting might be necessary to complete a project of this type; that would result in an extended construction period with correspondingly increased expenses.

To my knowledge, the specific rock it is made if is basalt, after some dirt/mud of course. Don't know how that would affect the cost.

LG-TP260

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sparker

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2019, 03:21:22 AM »





If you can link Vancouver to the Tualatin Valley, I think that can help traffic immensely; however, you'd need a crossing over the Columbia north of Frenchman's Bar, and either upgrade Cornelius Pass to a freeway or find a different way through the Tualatin Mountains.

Most prior plans have suggested a tunnel through the mountains.

I was living in Portland when MAX was pushing the LR tunnel through the West Hills; if the Tualatin Mountains, essentially their northwestern extension, have a similar geologic profile (essentially mud on top of a pile of rocks), boring a tunnel would be an especially costly venture, since large boring heads tend to wear out or even break with such conditions.  Lots of traditional digging and blasting might be necessary to complete a project of this type; that would result in an extended construction period with correspondingly increased expenses.

To my knowledge, the specific rock it is made if is basalt, after some dirt/mud of course. Don't know how that would affect the cost.

LG-TP260



Unless the basalt is arrayed as a solid mass (unlikely), it's pretty nasty stuff to try to drill through; it tends to crack, break up, and crumble back into the bored hole (this happened repeatedly during the MAX tunnel project circa '94).  This is one of the reasons there aren't any through major facilities in the John Day River area in the north central part of the state -- the hills are essentially piles of deposited basalt (leftover from past Cascade volcanic activity); most of the roads (such as OR 19 and 207) snake around the existing canyons simply because ODOT has long realized that any attempt to straighten out the alignments would involve exceptionally heavy expense.  In another NW thread the prospect of a southern freeway extension of the I-82 trajectory south of I-84, eventually finding its way back to US 97 in the Redmond/Madras area was discussed; the construction problems in the John Day area have effectively put the kibosh on such plans regardless of specific alignment. 
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2019, 02:25:51 PM »

I made an illustrated version of why the Western Bypass won't happen.

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sparker

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2019, 09:39:56 PM »

I made an illustrated version of why the Western Bypass won't happen.



Love it -- "nope.....nope.....nope....(ad nauseum)". :-D :-D :-D  Nice to have the relevant issues illustrated like this. :nod:
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Tarkus

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2019, 02:08:23 AM »

That's a pretty solid explanation for at least that particular alignment.  Personally, I think it'd have a greater chance of happening if it went further west--there are places where it could pass through with considerably fewer potential eminent domain cases, and its function at that point would be more of actually bypassing Portland, rather than being a more freeway-like version of Roy Rogers Road (which has turned into a trainwreck in recent years). 

In terms of just how far west, I think you'd probably be looking at something that passes close to Newberg, Forest Grove, and North Plains, possibly near/using part of OR-47 and Cornelius-Schefflin/Zion Church Road, the latter of which is actually the second-busiest non-ODOT rural facility in Washington County (Zion Church at a point 0.2 miles west of Glencoe Road had an AADT of 16,570 in 2017). 

While the planning powers-that-be and groups like 1000 Friends of Oregon seem to have an aversion to allowing new/expanded facilities in rural areas ("it'll open them up to development!"), that quite frankly seems like an incredibly silly argument, given that one can just simply not bring the surrounding land into the Urban Growth Boundary, which would also have the benefit of preserving the functional lifespan of those improvements.  Metro, the counties, and the cities simply have to have a backbone and rebuff the developers' lust for land. 
« Last Edit: February 02, 2019, 02:13:43 AM by Tarkus »
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Bickendan

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2019, 07:35:46 AM »

I made an illustrated version of why the Western Bypass won't happen.


Compare and contrast to the I-505 I did in this mockup several years ago (I think our alignments are pretty similar, save for the southern and northern ends): https://imgur.com/a/Hd7QgS8
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2019, 12:11:13 PM »

You Robert Moses'd the crap out of that
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Bickendan

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2019, 07:14:13 PM »

It was based on the '1990 PVMATS' map published in 1970 by CRAG.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2019, 07:36:02 PM »

I made an illustrated version of why the Western Bypass won't happen.


So now farms are a reason not to build freeways!? LOL. You are actually right about all of this and that is what is sad. In the past this would be obstacles to overcome. Today it is a reason why it can't happen. *sigh*
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Sub-Urbanite

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2019, 07:43:07 PM »

So now farms are a reason not to build freeways!? LOL. You are actually right about all of this and that is what is sad. In the past this would be obstacles to overcome. Today it is a reason why it can't happen. *sigh*

We're talking about Oregon politics. The land conservation lobby is extremely powerful here and the preservation of the urban growth boundary continues to enjoy broad public support. And Oregon law doesn't generally allow for freeways on farmland.

So if the federal government came in and said "Here, have $8 billion and build that thing," you'd still be looking at years of litigation as the concept works its way through Oregon's land use appeals system.
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Plutonic Panda

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2019, 07:51:13 PM »

So now farms are a reason not to build freeways!? LOL. You are actually right about all of this and that is what is sad. In the past this would be obstacles to overcome. Today it is a reason why it can't happen. *sigh*

We're talking about Oregon politics. The land conservation lobby is extremely powerful here and the preservation of the urban growth boundary continues to enjoy broad public support. And Oregon law doesn't generally allow for freeways on farmland.

So if the federal government came in and said "Here, have $8 billion and build that thing," you'd still be looking at years of litigation as the concept works its way through Oregon's land use appeals system.
I honestly have no clue about Oregon politics, but it seems to be the way of a bunch of needed infrastructure projects including rail as well.

PS, don't you think 8 billion would be a bit conservative? LOL
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Hurricane Rex

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #19 on: February 06, 2019, 12:18:22 PM »




PS, don't you think 8 billion would be a bit conservative? LOL

8 billion IMO is actually pretty low, but doable if it starts in the rural part between Wilsonville and Tualatin, and this way, most if the Chehalem mountains and one bridge crossing can be dodge (saving 2 billion, 1 if using 99w). Also, going over Cornelius Pass should save money instead of drilling basalt. Now if environmental concerns are thrown out, then the 8 billion becomes possible. If you do the route shown above, I'm thinking 12-15 billion.

Also, the public also wants freeway expansion in Portland, so don't discount the politics yet.

LG-TP260

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #20 on: February 06, 2019, 03:36:24 PM »

While the planning powers-that-be and groups like 1000 Friends of Oregon seem to have an aversion to allowing new/expanded facilities in rural areas

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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2019, 10:29:54 AM »

Theoretically, yes. But you'd have to build it a little bit further west.
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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2019, 02:47:13 PM »

There are some states where you would be lucky to ever have any new roads constructed. Oregon may be one of those states.
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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2019, 02:52:22 PM »

There are some states where you would be lucky to ever have any new roads constructed. Oregon may be one of those states.

The eastern two thirds of Oregon (by area) is completely different from the western third. This "no freeway" attitude only applies to the western third (and possibly only the northern half of this region); Bend could easily get several upgrades.

Unrelated, Portland does have a western freeway bypass: I-95 through Westbrook, ME.
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Re: Could Portland ever have a western bypass?
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2019, 04:38:23 PM »

The eastern two thirds of Oregon (by area) is completely different from the western third. This "no freeway" attitude only applies to the western third (and possibly only the northern half of this region); Bend could easily get several upgrades.

But even Bend balked at a full freeway through town, going for a 45 mph, no-shoulder parkway (which, to be clear, I think was the right call).

I think rural Oregon likes freeways in theory, but when you start talking about how to pay for them, the interest wanes.
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