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Monday 07.01.13

« North Coast Seed Building Open House | Main | First Wednesday Openings : July 3rd »

Ding Dong the Bridge is Dead

Cable stay CRC design, which not chosen

The big news this weekend (broken by the Tribune) was that the much hated Columbia River Crossing is dead. PORT has been on top of this from a design perspective and when they chose the cheapest and tunnel of ugly version instead of the more seismically safe and more elegant cable stay design I predicted the project would be killed.

If a project can't even get those like me who see a need for a well designed and seismically pro-active bridge on board they will have to wait for the Big One or say a 7.6 to damage the existing bridges enough to make a replacement happen. That's sad because people will likely die.

Here are some take-aways:

1)Next time get a major archictect and engineering firm on board, the project is just too complicated for a meat and potatoes design that nobody can buy into. The architect can juggle the massive tangle of interests and find a way to bring that feedback into the design. That would create buy-in. Design isn't about being "fancy", it is about finding elegant solutions to difficult problems and the CRC idea requires top level problem solving... not run of the mill overpass style solutions.

2)This requires a bigger carrot. IE the Federal Government will have to fund at least half to 65% of the project... to bring both states back to the table. 25% simply did not cut it and this is I-5 afterall, the most Important road on the West Coast.

3)The project should show off the incredible stetting and instill pride. It should also be the most seismically robust and environmentally sound solution available today. Right now that is a cable stay design with its greater sway and fewer piers. The clearances should also be high enough so as not to impact upsteam businesses to nearly a billion dollars in mitigation payouts. This should be a job builder not payola.

4)Some of the 170 million that has already been spent is not wasted but the next time the process is undertaken it will require a front door not the back room political dealing approach attempted this failed time.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 01, 2013 at 9:41 | Comments (2)


I too, mourn those yet to be killed by the coming earthquake which will destroy the existing bridge. So sad...

Posted by: gabe [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2013 09:42 PM

I too, mourn those yet to be killed by the coming earthquake which will destroy the existing bridge. So sad...

Posted by: gabe [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 16, 2013 09:43 PM

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