It’s been 35 years since we added a new freeway lane
Since our last “new” bridge across the Columbia River, and the last new transportation corridor was built and opened in Dec. 1982, our “average daily crossings” of the Columbia River have risen from about 110,000 vehicles per day, to almost 300,000 vehicles per day.
Population has doubled from an estimated 1.3 million people in 1980 to 2.5 million today.
Yet regionally, we’ve added no new freeway lanes. We’ve added no new “capacity” for cars and trucks. We’ve created no new transportation corridors in 35 years. How sad and how frustrating. We now have the 12th worst traffic congestion in the nation, as a result of our refusal to add vehicle capacity and build new transportation corridors.
If you look at what I-205 did when it opened in Dec. 1982, it caused an immediate 18.5% drop in the number of vehicles on I-5. Now THAT is congestion relief! It took a decade before vehicle levels on I-5 reached 1981 levels.
We had a plan to build a “west side bypass“, similar to I-205. It only makes sense. Here’s the map.
We need more ways to cross the Columbia River. We need more transportation corridors.
And “yes”, we will at some point need to upgrade the I-5 bridge. But until Oregon truly “fixes” the Rose Quarter (and their current proposal offers no NEW through lanes to I-5), any money spent on the I-5 bridge will deliver negligible results when it comes to improving traffic congestion.