Governors Kate Brown and Jay Inslee of Oregon and Washington signed a memorandum of intent to formally kick off joint efforts between the states to replace the Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River.
“Governor Inslee and I come together today from both sides of the river with a common goal: to build a resilient bridge that will serve our states for many years to come,” said Governor Brown. “Both Oregon and Washington are currently experiencing unprecedented population, cultural, and economic growth. This joint effort to replace the interstate bridge is critical to the safety and economies of both Oregon and Washington, and an important step forward as we invest in the growth of our region.”
“This is a new day. We need to replace the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River to benefit both Washingtonians and Oregonians. Our states are separated by a magnificent river but our values are consistent on both sides of the river,” Governor Inslee said. “We are starting this process anew, moving forward with resources for a project office and a transparent, data-driven process that listens to the community’s needs.”
The current bridge poses significant seismic risks and also is a source of major congestion in the surrounding regions. The two states have dedicated $44 million dollars to reopen an office for the I-5 bridge project.
The Governors were joined at the signing event by local lawmakers and elected officials from both Washington and Oregon, and reiterated their commitment to working to incorporate community feedback in advancing a bi-state effort that moves this critical project forward.
Governors Brown and Inslee signed a memorandum of intent outlining expectations for the project office, which will begin with re-evaluating previous studies of a replacement, developing a finance plan, and planning for high-capacity transit. The project office’s first progress report is due December 1 of this year.