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Some funding is possible from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act signed by President Joe Biden on Monday.

PMG FILE PHOTO - The aging I-5 bridge over the Columbia River.The $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure spending bill President Joe Biden signed on Monday could help fund the replacement of the aging I-5 bridge between Oregon and Washington.

Although the Infrastructure and Investment Act signed on Nov. 15 does not guarantee funding for specific projects, transportation officials in both states have said some of the billions of dollars they will receive could go to the project.

After negotiations over the Columbia Crossing Project collapsed between the two states several years ago, talks have resumed about another replacement bridge projects. Now the new bi-state program is seeking public comment on possible designs and other issues in a series of online public briefings, meetings and an interactive community survey this month.

"We are asking the community to weigh in on preliminary design options to help inform the analysis and decision-making process for a new multimodal replacement bridge, "Interstate Bridge Replacement program administrator Greg Johnson said. "Community and stakeholder input has helped define the desired outcomes for the program, and we are committed to continuing this two-way dialogue to ensure we meet the transportation needs of the region."

Congestion over the bridge, which must frequently be raised to allowed Columbia River traffic to pass under it, has been identified as the most severe choke point on I-5 along the West Coast. It slows work commute, daily deliveries and interstate commerce.

The next online briefing is Wednesday, Nov. 17. The survey is live until Dec. 10. The goal is to develop a multimodal replacement bridge design solution in early 2022. Costs and funding sources have yet to be finalized, although both states will contribute and tolls are under consideration.

More information about the program, events and taking the survey can be found at interstatebridge.org.


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