The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council is the latest group to throw its support behind reignited efforts to replace the aging Interstate 5 bridge after formally approving a statement earlier this month.
The support was part of an endorsement by the council of the Clark County Transportation Alliance’s 2020 Policy Statement, approved by the council Dec. 3. The policy statement lists support of opening an office focused on replacement of the I-5 bridge as “Action #1” among its focuses for the coming year.
According to the statement, the alliance’s “top priority is addressing deficiencies in the I-5 bridge and influence area.” It urged lawmakers at local, state and federal levels to be “champions” for addressing the needs the alliance identified laid out in the statement.
The policy statement read that the alliance “fully support(ed) replacement of the I-5 bridges and related corridor improvements,” including work by Oregon lawmakers to fund improvements to the south at the I-5/I-84 interchange.
The policy statement also included a list of 16 “regionally critical” projects across Clark County, as well as support for fast-tracking funding for improvements to the I-5/179th Street interchange. Two of the projects endorsed in the policy statement were located in Battle Ground: a congestion relief project at the State Route 502/503 intersection as well as street realignment and a new traffic signal at the Southeast Grace Avenue from East Main Street to Southeast Rasmussen Boulevard.
Following the review by a steering committee for the alliance in October, the statement was presented to the Regional Transportation Council Nov. 5. According to the council’s Dec. 3 resolution, the statement “supports refinements to the staging of key regional projects funded under the Connecting Washington transportation program and advocates for state policy (and) programs which further benefit member agency investments in needed regional infrastructure.”
Focus on replacement of the I-5 bridge has been a renewed focus for agencies and lawmakers in recent months. In November, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. Kate Brown came to Clark County to sign a memorandum of intent to open a joint state office tasked with a replacement project, the same office reopening supported in the transportation alliance’s statement.
Both Washington and Oregon’s departments of transportation also recently provided a progress report to the governors and other lawmakers which provided a timeline to bridge replacement. Following the re-opening of the project office the timeline moved through planning and environmental research before tentatively beginning construction on a developed replacement in 2025.