Sept. 27, 2013
The Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration confirmed yesterday that an Oregon-led project to replace the Interstate 5 Bridges is consistent with the prior environmental analysis and will not require additional environmental analysis or a supplemental environmental impact statement. The FHWA and FTA completed a re-evaluation of the project’s environmental impacts in response to the Columbia River Crossing project phasing the Locally Preferred Alternative into several construction phases, with construction of the first phase beginning as soon as 2014.
“This is another sign that an Oregon-led project to replace the Interstate 5 Bridges could be a viable option,” said ODOT Director Matthew Garrett. “The project, including its environmental impacts, has been vigorously and thoroughly studied, and our federal partners confirm our assessment that the analysis is complete.”
From 2008 to 2011, the project team completed a comprehensive environmental review of a new Columbia River Crossing and associated highway improvements. A Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision were issued in 2011 based on the project as a whole being constructed in phases.
Earlier this month, the project team requested an additional federal review of an Oregon-led option to ensure that phasing the Locally Preferred Alternative into individual projects did not result in significant environmental impacts not considered by the final environmental impact statement. The federal review confirms that there are no new significant environmental impacts from moving forward with the first phase.
The first phase of the project includes making interchange and roadway improvements in Oregon and building the river crossing, the SR 14 interchange, and light rail to Vancouver, while deferring northern highway and interchange improvements in Washington. Construction of this first phase could begin in 2014, finishing in 2022.