Design consultant has cheaper options for I-5 crossing

Straightening the span also will help knock millions off the bid price

News The Columbian February 18, 2011
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Two weeks after a bridge expert review panel released a report that the open-web box girder design for the new I-5 bridge across the Columbia River, Utah-based transportation consultant Tom Warne was settling some nerves.

Warne spoke to transportation leaders from the states of Washington and Oregon on Feb. 17, and said the process that is unfolding is a normal one.

“There is no project in the United States today with unanimity across the board,” Warne said.

Warne’s bridge panel had different design options for the I-5 crossing. The list included tied-arch, cable-stayed and composite deck truss versions, and Warne believes all three would be cheaper than the open-web box girder option. The main cost-savings component deals with the bridge alignment. By making it straighter and requiring fewer piers, Warne’s panel believes as much as $100 million could be wiped off the bid price.

A separate presentation was expected to be delivered on Feb. 18 to Vancouver and Portland mayors and other elected officials who serve on a Project Sponsors Council advising the two states’ governors.

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