The original proposal for replacement of the existing bridge linking Washington and Oregon was scrapped in 2013 as there was insufficient funding for the design being considered, which would have cost more than US$3 billion to build (link opens in new tab).

Senator Annette Cleveland welcomed the budget agreement, which allocates US$35 million to get the project under way. “Today everyone who has been waiting and working for the replacement of our outdated bridge has 35 million reasons to celebrate,” she said. “We have made steady progress, step by step, over the past months and years toward this important goal, but this is the big step all those little steps made possible. This is a $35 million step.”

I-5 Columbia River Bridge

The US$35 million consists of US$17.5 million to open and operate an I-5 bridge project office, plus a second US$17.5 million to fund the pre-design and planning of a new bridge.

“We all spend far too many hours waiting in bridge traffic that worsens every year,” said Cleveland. “While the old bridge first built in 1917 has well served several generations, it’s time for a replacement bridge that meets our needs in this century.”