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Project leaders hear arguments from two sides pitting environment vs. efficiency.

COURTESY PHOTO: BRADLEY W. PARKS/OPB - The Interstate 5 bridge connecting Washington and Oregon across the Columbia River as seen from Vancouver, Washington.

The team leading the project to replace the Interstate 5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver, Washington, is being pulled in two different directions.

On one side, local leaders in the Portland metro area are pushing for a new bridge that focuses on safety, adding public transportation and bike/pedestrian options across the Columbia River, and centering equity and environmental goals in the process.

They're feeling mounting pressure from climate and mass transit activists to scale back the project and implement tolls to help change bridge users' behavior.

On the other hand, several state lawmakers within the Oregon and Washington legislatures have made it clear they want a larger bridge with more lanes aimed at alleviating traffic and facilitating the movement of freight.

Project staff heard differing opinions in two meetings that took place Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6, from dozens of leaders who will soon make critical decisions on the future of the bridge.

Oregon Public Broadcasting is a news partner of the Portland Tribune. Their full story can be found here.

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