The project to replace the Interstate 5 bridge between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, Washington, is becoming more reality than dream.

For those who have traveled that stretch of I-5, or moved goods from the Ports[1] or up and down I-5, they know all too well the extreme congestion along that stretch. Not to mention, the bridge itself is at risk of collapsing in the event of a major earthquake.[2] For those contractors, subcontractors, designers, fabricators, and manufacturers hoping to work on the project, they know it has been a long time coming, with efforts to address that stretch of I-5 dating back to 2001.[3] Well, it appears the time has finally come.

According to the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program (IBR), a jointly led program by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Transportation in collaboration with multiple agencies,[4] the project is set to go out for bid in 2024.[5] The estimated project cost is $5 billion to $7.5 billion.[6] Oregon and Washington have both now committed $1 billion each, for a total of $2 billion, and the USDOT awarded an additional $600 million to the project. An additional, estimated $1.2 billion is to come from tolls. Tellingly, while Oregon Governor Kotek stated in a letter to the Oregon Transportation Commission this month that she wants to scrap tolls on large sections of I-5 and I-205 around the Portland area, her decision does not affect the IBR project.[7]

The design has not been finalized, and the latest Modified Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), or components of what will make up the project, is currently undergoing an environmental evaluation as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).[8] Thereafter, IBR will publish a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and disclose the findings of the NEPA evaluation, and there will be a 60-day public comment window.[9] Once that window closes, the LPA will be finalized and result in a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and Amended Record of Decision issued by the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.[10] At this stage, IBR will be able to apply for permits, update cost estimates, and further the design.[11]

If you have questions about the I-5 bridge project or would like assistance with the public procurement and bidding process, please contact our government contracts and construction group.