IBR Modified LPA
What is the Modified LPA recommendation?
The Modified Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) refers to an agreed upon set of components that will be further evaluated through an environmental review process. It is *not* the final design of the replacement bridge, but it is a key milestone, setting the direction for the program as we start to test and evaluate plans for a new bridge.
What we learn from the review process, and corresponding environmental studies, will determine how we move forward, and necessary work to avoid, minimize or mitigate negative effects to our environment. This process will include opportunities for public comment and will inform the continuation of design.
On July 21, 2022, the IBR program’s Executive Steering Group unanimously agreed that the Modified LPA should move forward into the federal environmental review process for further study. This is a significant milestone demonstrating regional consensus to move forward into the next phase of work. However, the adoption of the Modified LPA by local agencies does not represent a formal decision by the federal agencies or any federal funding commitment. Other elements and investments may enhance the Modified LPA and will be identified as the IBR program continues to gather input from advisory groups and partner agencies, and further analyze the Modified LPA in the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SDEIS). Elements such as additional transit improvements (e.g., transit stations, park and rides, bus route changes, and potential expansion of a light rail transit (LRT) maintenance facility) and river crossing structure type and alignment are anticipated to be determined in the next phase of the program.
The next phase of work will analyze benefits and impacts of the of the Modified LPA and will be shared with the public for review and comment as part of the environmental review process. Refinements will be made in response to partner, public, and Tribal engagement, as well as additional design analysis. After the Modified LPA is refined to address public comments, the combined Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Record of Decision (ROD) will be published. The goal is to begin construction by late 2025.
*Partner agencies were asked to confirm their support for foundational components of the Modified LPA to advance for further study in the environmental evaluation (Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement or SDEIS). During the SDEIS, public comment will be taken for at least 45 days and design refinements will be made the following months to respond to findings from the environmental review and public input. Full acceptance of a corridor-wide alternative will not be identified until after public comment and design refinement. At the conclusion of the review process, a ROD will be made and the program will enter into final design and pre-construction.
- IBR Recommendation for Modified LPA - Summary Memo*
- IBR Recommendation for Modified LPA - Briefing Packet*
- IBR Recommendation - Summary Graphic
- Program Milestones
*Remediated versions available upon request.
Design Options Evaluated
Transit investments have a unique set of data and analysis to inform decision-making and identify how each transit option performs. Analysis and modeling include measures such as ridership, travel time, reliability and costs, among others. The transit options were screened to understand how they perform against the program’s climate and equity goals.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) currently operates in Portland, with the Yellow Line terminating at Expo Center, near the southern border of the program area. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) currently operates in Vancouver as The Vine, with its southern-most stop located at Turtle Place in downtown Vancouver.
Equity considerations: Station locations, mobility improvements and property impacts are all key considerations in the development of transit options.
Climate considerations: All options increase transit choices for interstate travel in the program area.
The IBR program analyzed the following transit options:
Four potential light rail transit options could extend the Yellow Line from the Expo Center in North Portland into Vancouver. All of these options would also feature express bus service between the two cities.
- The 2013 LPA – LRT would extend from the Expo Center in Portland to a terminus (end point) near Clark College in Vancouver. This option would include five new transit stations: one near McLoughlin/I-5, three in the Vancouver Central Business District and one on Hayden Island.
- LRT One Station in Vancouver – LRT would extend from the Expo Center in Portland to Turtle Place in Vancouver. This option would include two new transit stations: one on Hayden Island and one terminus near Turtle Place.
- LRT Hugging I-5 to Near McLoughlin – LRT would extend from the Expo Center to McLoughlin Boulevard in Vancouver via a dedicated guideway adjacent to I-5. This option would include three new stations: Hayden Island, Evergreen Boulevard and a terminus near McLoughlin/I-5.
- LRT Hugging I-5 to Kiggins Bowl – LRT would extend from the Expo Center to Kiggins Bowl just north of State Route 500 in a dedicated guideway adjacent to I-5. This option would include five new stations: Hayden Island, Evergreen Boulevard, McLoughlin Boulevard/I-5, 33rd Street and a terminus near Kiggins Bowl.
Three potential bus rapid transit options could extend C-TRAN’s Vine from Vancouver into Portland. All of these options would also feature express bus service between the cities.
- Dedicated BRT Turtle to Expo – Vine BRT lines would extend via a dedicated guideway from Turtle Place in Vancouver to a terminus near the Expo Center in Portland. This option would include three stations: one near Turtle Place, one on Hayden Island, and another near the Expo Center.
- Dedicated BRT Hugging I-5 – Vine BRT lines would extend via a dedicated guideway from Kiggins Bowl south to the MAX Expo Center Station on a dedicated guideway adjacent to I-5. This option would include six stations: near Kiggins Bowl, 33rd Street McLoughlin/I-5, Evergreen Boulevard, Hayden Island and the Expo Center.
- Dedicated BRT through the Central Business District – Vine BRT lines would extend via dedicated guideway from McLoughlin Boulevard through Vancouver’s Central Business District before crossing the river to Hayden Island with a terminus near the Expo Center. This option would include six stations: one near McLoughlin/I-5, three in the Vancouver Central Business District, one on Hayden Island and one at Expo Center.
- Option L – Light Rail Transit, hugging I-5, would extend from the Expo Center in Portland to a terminus near McLoughlin Blvd in Vancouver, close to I-5. Potential station locations include Hayden Island, Columbia St./Columbia Way near the Vancouver waterfront, and Evergreen Blvd.
View a map showing option
- Option M – Light Rail Transit, hugging I-5, would extend from the Expo Center in Portland to a terminus near Evergreen Blvd in Vancouver, close to I-5. Potential station locations include Hayden Island and Columbia St./Columbia Way near the Vancouver waterfront.
View a map showing option
- The Dedicated BRT and LRT to Hayden Island is a hybrid option where Vine BRT lines would extend via a dedicated guideway from a station near Turtle Place in Vancouver to a terminus on Hayden Island. The MAX Yellow Line would extend from the current terminus at the Expo Center to a new terminus on Hayden Island.
View a map showing option.
- The Bus on Shoulder Option assumes C-TRAN express routes 101 and 105X operate as bus on shoulder in the bridge influence area (both directions). Route 101 operates from downtown Vancouver to downtown Portland, Route 105X operates from the Salmon Creek Park & Ride (with a stop at the 99th Street Transit Center) to downtown Portland.
View a map showing option.
- Finally, there is a No-Build Option that assumes no transit improvement from the IBR program but does include other planned transit improvements in the next 25 years. This option is used as a tool for measuring the effects of other options.
Preliminary details regarding park and ride station locations were developed to better understand trade-offs associated with each of the possible transit investments and do not represent design decisions. Decisions about station and park and ride size and locations will be made after further analysis and input from the community.
Hayden Island/Marine Drive
In October, the IBR program shared a list of preliminary design options created in response to changes within the Interstate Bridge corridor since previous planning efforts. Full, partial, and no interchange options for Hayden Island were developed, alongside improvement considerations for Marine Drive. All options assumed:
- Replacement of the North Portland Harbor bridge connecting North Portland to Hayden Island on I-5
- A new local vehicle access bridge from North Portland to Hayden Island
- A new high-capacity transit station on Hayden Island
- Improved pedestrian and bicycle connections from the Interstate Bridge shared-use paths
Initial screening of design options reveals having no I-5 interchange on Hayden Island is not a viable solution. Traffic would be forced to use the Marine Drive interchange to access Hayden Island, resulting in substantial impacts on freight and passenger traffic. Ramp queuing from Marine Drive onto I-5 creates unsafe safety conditions due to speed differential with I-5 through traffic.
Full and partial interchange options were recommended for further consideration and evaluation. The primary differences between these options? Footprint and access.
Full interchange on Hayden Island:
- Larger footprint over North Portland Harbor
- More impacts to personal and commercial properties
- Hayden Island vehicle/freight access to/from Portland via Hayden Island Drive I-5 ramps
- Larger scale/complexity of I-5 over Hayden Island provides lower quality experience for active transportation and transit access on east-west streets
Partial interchange on Hayden Island:
- Smaller footprint over North Portland Harbor
- Fewer impacts to personal and commercial properties
- Hayden Island vehicle/freight access to/from Portland via local roads and I-5 ramps that cross under Marine Drive
- Smaller scale/complexity of I-5 over Hayden Island provides higher quality experience for active transportation and transit access on east-west streets
The design options being considered include variations designed for a two-bridge or one-bridge river crossing. Analysis includes measures such as ease of interchange connection with Interstate 5, geometry of freeway interchange ramps, integration with active transportation and environmental impacts, among others.
All configurations include the replacement of the North Portland Harbor bridge, which is needed for consistent seismic resiliency throughout the program area.
Seismic retrofitting of the North Portland Harbor Bridge is not cost effective based on the age of the bridge and the known costs of recent seismic retrofits. In addition, a retrofit cannot achieve the same resiliency as new construction.
Equity and Climate considerations: All options provide dedicated transit guideway and dedicated wide shared-use path to create appealing and effective transit and active transportation opportunities. Exposure to noise – of particular importance to pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired and rely heavily on sound to navigate – could differ between the options. Options may also carry different implications in terms of displacement or other impacts to houseless populations living in the area. Current and future river conditions are taken into consideration.
The IBR program is analyzing the following river crossing options:
- The 2013 LPA Option has two bridges and a curved alignment, with highway lanes on the top level and dedicated transit guideway and a shared-use path on the bottom level.
- Technical considerations: This option provides a narrowed footprint, with the transit and shared-use path under the highway (in comparison with all modes on one level). The curved alignment connects the new bridge to the existing North Portland Harbor bridge and the existing highway corridor in Vancouver.
- The One Bridge Option consolidates all elements into one bridge, with southbound highway lanes on top of northbound highway lanes. Transit and the shared-use path would be on the lower level on each side of the bridge.
- Technical considerations: This one-bridge solution would have a smaller footprint over the river and reduce the number of foundations in the water compared to the other options, thus minimizing impacts to the natural environment and surrounding areas.
- The Two Bridge Option removes the curve as much as possible while maintaining the two bridge/two-level highway over the transit/shared-use path.
- Technical considerations: The straight alignment is west of the Interstate 5 (I-5) corridor on Hayden Island. This alignment makes the North Portland Harbor Bridge replacement less complex. A straight alignment is less complex to construct than a curving structure.
Tolls on the Interstate Bridge
The Oregon Department of Transportation will administer tolls on the Interstate Bridge. This is an administrative decision regarding which agency will be responsible for the function of collecting tolls, and for providing customer service, but does not set toll policy. Since the Oregon Toll Program is currently identifying how tolls will be implemented on I-5 and I-205, ensuring the Interstate Bridge toll collection system matches other regional systems will ensure consistent operations, customer experience, and support in learning new systems and rules. Important distinctions about this decision:
- This is not a decision about when or how tolls will be implemented
- Both states will be involved in determining future policy and implementation of tolling for IBR, developed separately from the Oregon Toll Program
- While the IBR program has authorization to toll I-5 from the Oregon legislature, authorization is still needed from the Washington legislature
- Federal approval is required before tolls can be implemented
- The Washington and Oregon transportation commissions will jointly set rates, exemptions, and discounts, including possible low-income discounts
- Any tolls on the new bridge would be coordinated with tolling on I-5 so that users will not receive two separate bills when using both the Interstate Bridge and the rest of I-5
The IBR program is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions within the Interstate Bridge corridor in support of state climate goals. Equitable tolling and pricing strategies, in addition to improving high-capacity transit and active transportation options, are methods to achieve this goal.
An essential first step of the IBR program’s commitment to centering equity is to develop a shared understanding of what the program seeks to achieve and how it will be accomplished. The IBR Equity Framework outlines the program’s approach and the resources it will use to advance equity.
The Framework includes the program’s Equity Definition and Principles, Equity Objectives, Measures of Success and a Toolbox to assist in putting the Framework into action. The Framework is informed by the Equity Advisory Group (EAG), community input, program staff insight and best practices and language from other projects' equity frameworks and toolkits.
The IBR Equity Framework is intended to guide every element of the program. From planning, design, and environmental review to community engagement, it will be applied to all critical decisions and actions.
Responsibility for honoring and implementing the Equity Framework is the collective responsibility of program leadership, staff, partners and advisory groups.
Integrated with our commitment to equity is our commitment to supporting regional climate goals.
The IBR Program is committed to four climate outcomes:
1. Reduce GHG in support of state climate goals
2. Minimize operational and embodied carbon during construction
3. Structures are resilient to climate disruptions
4. Limit environmental impacts that exacerbate effects of climate change
The IBR Climate Framework will help us achieve these outcomes through emphasizing design choices and construction practices that:
- Reduce climate impacts from transportation options selected for the program
- Reduce climate impacts associated with construction, including the materials and methods used
- Reduce climate impacts associated with maintenance and operation of a new bridge and multimodal facilities
- Create resilient infrastructure that endures in variable climate conditions and is adaptable to climate-driven environmental and community changes
- Apply an equity lens to climate concerns and climate actions
- Evaluate offsets to help mitigate unavoidable GHG emissions associated with the program
The Climate Framework is an integral part of the program and is a primary factor in the development of:
- Desired outcomes
- Design option screening criteria
- Bridge, highway and transit design
- Program-level performance measures
- Intergovernmental agreements and community benefits agreements
- Environmental impacts analysis and mitigation
- Construction specifications and procurement strategies
- Program commitments: community enhancements and mitigation
The IBR Program is working closely with local partner agencies in both states to align IBR’s Climate Framework and actions with the goals and aspirations of local agency climate plans.
Environmental compliance is foundational to the program’s success. To achieve environmental compliance, the IBR program is committed to meeting federal, state and local laws and regulations for protecting the natural, built and cultural environment.
The program will seek opportunities to enhance communities and the environment within the scope of the program activities.
Environmental work was previously completed for the Columbia River Crossing (CRC) project, including site evaluations and technical studies of various topics (e.g., fish and wildlife, climate, and parks and recreation). However, since 2013, there have been many changes to the physical environment, regulatory context and local jurisdictions’ and communities’ priorities. In response to those changes, the program will collect additional data and update its technical analyses as a part of the environmental process.
Examples of work that could still be valid or require minimal updates include geological conditions and land use. On the other hand, community demographics, visual impact assessments and the transportation studies are outdated and will be updated.
The Interstate Bridge is located near the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 620-mile-long highly susceptible earthquake field. Learn more about how a major seismic event could affect the bridge.
Located between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA the Interstate Bridge is a vital connection that supports local jobs and families, and is a vital trade route for regional, national and international economies.