Graham Road will inflate to three lanes when a planned rebuild of two Interstate 84 overpasses in Troutdale starts up in the next year or two.
The reason? A special earmark added to a statewide transportation bill.
The Oregon Department of Transportation had already locked up at least $15 million for the project, which will replace both the east and westbound bridges spanning Graham.
However, as The Outlook previously reported, ODOT didn't have enough money to add a third lane to the well-traveled thoroughfare, which leads directly to the I-84 on ramp.
"That's a stacking problem for the vehicles underneath there," City Manager Ray Young said at a Council meeting Tuesday, July 11. "They were going to leave us with two itty-bitty lanes."
Young said he met with Rep. Chris Gorsek, D-Troutdale, during a press junket for Amazon.com, which plans to build a large fulfillment center in the city's industrial park. Many truckers already take Exit 17 at Graham Road to reach a FedEx Ground hub at the property.
"As politicians are wont to do, (Gorsek) said, 'What can I do to help you?'" Young recalled.
Gorsek added a $3-million rider to a transportation package that's worth roughly $5.3 billion. The bill still awaits the signature of Gov. Kate Brown.
"We made sure that access to our East County industrial area was made a specific item in the transportation package to stregthen thriving businesses and attract new investment," Rep. Gorsek said in a text message.
The two interstate bridges are both more than a half-century old, and together ferry approximately 25,000 cars each day heading toward Portland or deeper into the Columbia River Gorge.
The designs already include a 10-foot-wide protected sidewalk on Graham Road, plus a new bike lane on the shoulder. The project is expected to be fully completed by 2020.