Port proposes bridge timeline

Next steps: EIS and toll revenue study

The Port Commission hosted a work session Tuesday to continue discussing issues surrounding a plan that could replace the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge by 2025.

Tuesday’s work session was the second in a series to provide information and encourage discussion on aspects of the complicated issues involved with the bridge replacement project. The first was held Jan. 18.

The purpose of the June 19 session was to explain the implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the process of completing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Project Director Kevin Greenwood, Project Manager Angela Findley of WSP Engineering and Lowell Clary, president of Clary’s Consulting, presented information about the current status of the project and its next steps to the port and representatives from both sides of the river.

They also presented a tentative schedule of the project up to 2021, the latest that the EIS is expected to be completed. A tolling/revenue study is in progress and kick-off meetings with the project team and a multi-agency advisory committee—the Bi-State Bridge Replacement Advisory Committee (BRAC)—that will serve as a communicator between consultants and local communities throughout the process are scheduled for July, along with the launch of the project’s website.

The EIS has to be completed before the project can move forward on permitting and construction. Should the EIS be completed by 2021, the replacement bridge could theoretically be built by 2025.

Most present expressed a desire to expedite the NEPA progress and to have the bridge replacement project done as quickly as possible.

“There’s a lot of reasons to replace this bridge as quickly as possible” Findley said, citing the bridge’s age and many structural issues. “Where we can expedite (the EIS process), we certainly will.”

For more information, contact Kevin Greenwood at kgreenwood@portofhoodriver.com or 541-436-0797.

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