Watch video: “Project Overview" to learn more the I-205 Toll Project Environmental Assessment.
A new report on the I-205 Toll Project is open for public comment today through 4 p.m. on Friday, April 21. Published by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Federal Highway Administration, the Environmental Assessment identifies potential short- and long-term effects of the project on the transportation system, local communities, the economy and the environment, along with possible solutions to address negative effects.
I-205 Toll Project benefits
- Funds seismic improvements to eight bridges on I-205 from Stafford Road to OR 213. As part of a separate project, construction is already underway to make the Abernethy Bridge the first earthquake-ready highway bridge across the Willamette River in the Portland metropolitan area.
- Adds the missing third travel lane in a 7-mile stretch from Stafford Road to the Abernethy Bridge. Upgrading this section to three lanes, similar to the rest of I-205, will increase safety and reduce bottlenecks.
- Makes 50% faster travel times.
- Generates revenue to fund the 7 miles of improvements with congestion pricing through variable-rate tolls at the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges, beginning in late 2024 at the earliest.
Together, tolling and the improvements on I-205 will reduce congestion to give travelers a more predictable and safer trip.
“We know that people in Clackamas County, and throughout the region, are frustrated by the current congestion on I-205," said Mandy Putney, director of Strategic Initiatives for ODOT's Urban Mobility Office. “Tolling will be a big change for everyone, but it's a necessary step to address congestion and fund much-needed safety improvements to I-205. We believe when completed, people who live, work and travel through Clackamas County will see the value of these major community investments with safer, quicker trips."
Without tolls and planned improvements, I-205 will see daily congestion increase to 14 hours per day by 2045 as the region's population grows. Diversion to local streets, which is already an issue near the I-205 corridor, will also increase. However, with corridor improvements and tolling, congestion on I-205 would be reduced to two hours or less per day in 2045, and there would be nearly 20% fewer crashes.
Local partnerships are critical
In addition to making improvements on I-205, ODOT is collaborating with local jurisdictions to plan targeted, local road investments that help address concerns around adding tolls on I-205, including diversion to local roads.
We are planning a variety of transportation mitigation and improvement projects throughout Oregon City, Tualatin, Lake Oswego, West Linn and Canby, which include adding transit signal priority projects, widening sidewalks, improving signalized pedestrian crossings, providing roundabouts, and adding crosswalks.
We have hosted more than 100 briefings, presentations and events in the Clackamas County community since 2018, and we will continue collaborating with project-area jurisdictions and agencies to refine these local transportation and safety investments.
I-205 tolls will vary throughout the day on a set schedule
Congestion pricing through variable rate tolls provides more predictable travel times. There will be a set schedule of toll rates to charge drivers a higher price during peak traffic periods at congested locations and lower toll rates during non-peak hours when there is less traffic. It also means drivers will know the prices before heading out.
Congestion pricing will also:
- Increase safety with fewer traffic jams.
- Improve the statewide flow of goods to and from market and benefit local business districts.
- Provide revenue to preserve and improve I-205.
- Reduce carbon emissions to support reaching the state's climate goals.
Developing an equity-informed toll program
We are committed to creating better transportation solutions for historically and currently excluded and underserved communities. As part of that commitment, we formed the Equity and Mobility Advisory Committee (EMAC), made up of leaders from community-based organizations and underserved communities, to advise the Oregon Transportation Commission and us on creating an equitable tolling program. With EMAC's support and vision, we developed an “equity framework" with principles and steps to guide the project's planning process. As part of this commitment, we are developing a low-income toll program that will provide discounts to low-income drivers.
Where we are in the process
The Environmental Assessment is a component of our coordination with the Federal Highway Administration required by the National Environmental Policy Act. We launched this process for the I-205 Toll Project in 2020, when we received more than 4,600 comments from the greater metropolitan Portland community about adding tolls to I-205. Thousands of public comments and dozens of community conversations have informed our work to date.
For example, in response to community feedback, we are analyzing a toll discounts for people making up to 400% of the federal poverty level. We are also working with local jurisdictions to minimize impacts from drivers rerouting from I-205. And we are directing toll revenue from the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges to fund improvements on I-205.
Later this year, we will publish a Revised Environmental Assessment based on public input.
Project study area – the area where ODOT is making improvements. Potential toll gantry – Toll collection points at the Abernethy and Tualatin River bridges.
ODOT's regional tolling program
The other proposed tolls in the Portland area include the Regional Mobility Pricing Project and the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project on the Columbia River. Each of these projects is undergoing a separate environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act and will have opportunities for public comment. Tolling is part of our long-term strategy to reduce traffic congestion, fund bottleneck-relief projects, reduce carbon emissions and sustainably raise revenue for transportation investments for generations to come. Toll revenues will help preserve and improve roads and fund upgrades to withstand a major earthquake.
Ways to learn more and provide comments
Attend a webinar. We will be hosting two public webinars online or by phone where you can learn more about congestion pricing through variable rate tolls and what it means for our region.
Public hearing (virtual, with concurrent in-person opportunity for oral comment to a court reporter)
- Tuesday, April 4, 3-6 p.m.
Read the report. Read the Environmental Assessment, appendices, technical reports and a summary fact sheet. In addition, an interactive map shows the effects at studied intersections and corridors. An example of an affected intersection is South End Road and 99E, where we are planning to add a traffic signal to improve traffic flow and reduce crashes.
View a video. We also have a series of short videos about the report and findings here.
Join us in person. We'll share information and have project staff available to answer your questions at upcoming community drop-in sessions. At these events, attendees can review project materials, ask questions, and provide written comments about the Environmental Assessment. Visit OregonTolling.org for a complete list of drop-in locations and times.
Details on how to provide your feedback:
Submit comments in the way that works best for you by 4 p.m. on Friday, April 21, 2023:
Email: I205TollEA@odot.oregon.gov. Please include “EA comments" in the subject line.
Mail: Oregon Department of Transportation
Attn: Mandy Putney ODOT Urban Mobility Office 18277 SW Boones Ferry Road Tualatin, OR 97224
All comments will be reviewed and will inform the Environmental Assessment and next steps. We will continue to provide ongoing project updates and opportunities for involvement.