Program Updates

IBR Modified LPA


What is the Modified LPA?

The Modified Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA) refers to an agreed upon set of components that will be further evaluated through the environmental review process. It is NOT the replacement bridge’s final design but rather a key milestone setting the program's direction as we start to test and evaluate plans for a replacement multimodal river crossing system. 
Elements of the Modified LPA under analysis include:

  • A new bridge west of the existing bridge. 
  • Improvements to seven interchanges, north and south of the Columbia River, and related enhancements to the local street network. 
  • Extension of light rail from the Expo Center in Portland to E. Evergreen Blvd in Vancouver, along with associated transit improvements such as transit stations and park and rides. 
  • The addition of zero emmission express bus on shoulder across the bridge to better connect regional transit systems. 
  • Maintaining three through lanes and the addition of one auxiliary lane in each direction and safety shoulders on the bridge. 
  • A variety of improvements for people who walk, bike, and roll throughout the program area. 
  • Variable rate tolling for motorists using the river crossing as a demand management and financing tool. 

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 review and public comment and will inform the design refinements and decisions. 


Modified LPA and Program Components

The following components are being analyzed as part of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and may be modified by the environmental evaluation and public input. In some instances, multiple design concepts are being studied (e.g., park and ride locations and roadway alignment) to better understand the range of impacts and better optimize the design to avoid environmental resources. 

All images shown are conceptual for the purpose of analysis and do not represent final design. To view a roll map of the program corridor, click here


Portland and Hayden Island
Program investments in this area will include upgrades to roadways, shared-use paths and public transit. That includes the extension of light rail from the Expo Center and a new transit station on Hayden Island, as well as dedicated lanes for express bus on shoulder across the river. A rebuilt interchange at I-5 and Marine Drive paired with new auxiliary lanes will help alleviate congestion and equalize the flow of traffic on and off the freeway. A new arterial bridge will make it so local traffic does not have to use the freeway to access the island. Investments in transit stations and roadway improvements underneath I-5 will help sew the community back together by removing the freeway as a barrier to mobility for pedestrians and transit users. Improvements to connections for bikes and pedestrians will link to a robust network of regional trails on both sides of the river. Improvements to the interchange at Victory Boulevard will lengthen the on-ramp to untangle merging northbound traffic entering I-5. Southbound traffic entering the freeway from Marine Drive would also see a lengthened approach and merge with I-5 south of Victory Boulevard. 

For more information about Oregon investments, listen to this video description. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBjREpn1VLw

Click image to enlarge


Columbia River Bridges
The replacement Interstate Bridge(s) will be safer and more accessible for freight and vehicles driving over the bridge, pedestrians and bike users. It will improve reliability for transit users across multiple modes, including light rail and express bus on shoulder. Whereas the existing bridges each have three lanes with no shoulders, the replacement bridge will be wide enough for three through lanes, one auxiliary lane in each direction, and shoulders on both sides of the roadway to improve safety and improve reliability for vehicle and freight traffic. Rebuilt adjacent interchanges on Hayden Island and downtown Vancouver will provide easier access for traffic to connect local roads such as Hayden Island Drive and C Street, and SR 14. Replacement bridge height will provide clearance for river traffic to safely navigate the channel below. Options under analysis include a fixed heigh of 116 feet, or a movable span. The program is also studying different bridge configurations including single level, double decker and moveable span. If the program builds a single-level, side-by-side bridge, the new eastern bridge will accommodate northbound traffic and a shared-use path, while the western bridge will carry southbound traffic and two-way light rail. 

For more information about Oregon and Washington  investments, listen to the following video descriptions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBjREpn1VLw
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0ci8ebkH_8

Click image to enlarge


Downtown Vancouver
A waterfront light rail station will drop riders right onto the front doorstep of a booming downtown scene, while links to shared-use paths for active transportation provide seamless mobility for those traveling under their own power. Potential Park & Ride lots give hybrid options for travelers to use multiple modes of transportation to reach their end destination. A community connector would essentially cap a portion of I-5 at Evergreen Boulevard to help sew opposing sides of the freeway back together into a seamless community for all users. A transit station at Evergreen would also give many options for riders to access the new light rail extension and dozens of local and regional bus routes. 

For more information about Washington  investments, listen to the following video descriptions. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0ci8ebkH_8

Click image to enlarge


Upper Vancouver
Reconstructed interchanges at Mill Plain Boulevard and Fourth Plain Boulevard will more efficiently facilitate the flow of traffic, including tall and wide freight traffic frequently traveling to and from the Port of Vancouver. Reconfiguration would preserve access from Mill Plain to Fourth Plain via a C-D roadway, with the northbound off-ramp to Fourth Plain crossing over Mill Plain east of the freeway and functioning how it does currently. The overpasses at Fourth Plain Boulevard, 29th and 33rd Streets will also be reconstructed to be safer for bike and pedestrian users. Improvements to the I-5-SR 500 interchange include reconstruction to establish the beginning of the braided ramp to Fourth Plain and restoration of the loop connecting southbound freeway traffic to SR 500 via 39th Street. 

For more information about Washington  investments, listen to the following video descriptions. 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0ci8ebkH_8

Click image to enlarge

Next Steps

The Modified LPA and program area improvements are currently undergoing environmental evaluationas required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to better understand benefits and impacts. In 2024, the IBR program will publish a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and disclose the findings of the environmental evaluation. The document will be available to the public for review and comment. A 60-day public comment window will feature community events such as public hearings and open houses to share findings and answer questions. 

Once the public comment period closes, the Modified LPA will be refined in response to public input and other design considerations. Refinements will result in a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement in late 2024 and Amended Record of Decision issued by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration by early 2025. At this stage, the IBR program will be able to apply for permits, update cost estimates, and further design. 

Based on the current estimated schedule, the program anticipates beginning the construction phase of the program in 2025.

Design Options that were Evaluated

Transit Investments

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.

View a map showing options

  • 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.

View a map showing options.

  • 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.

Additional options:

  • 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 2022, 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

River Crossing

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.

Program Components

Videos

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.

I-5 is the most significant freight highway on the West Coast, linking regional, national and international markets. Learn more about why replacing the Interstate Bridge is essential.

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