Letter: Hayden Island resident expresses concerns about proposed Interstate Bridge replacement

Sam Churchill shares a long list of issues with the project

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

As a Hayden Island resident, I have concerns about the proposed Interstate Bridge replacement. 

Sam Churchill
Sam Churchill

Bridge issues: 

  • The Interstate Bridge Replacement Plan doesn’t yet know what the design is. 
  • The cost estimate is inaccurate. How much more than $3.5B-$5B WILL it cost? 
  • The Vancouver ramps (in sandy soil) would be the steepest in the country (6.7%). Dangerous. A lawsuit. 
  • The 3.9% incline of the bridge slows trucks by 20 mph, causing congestion. The 3.9% descent causes accidents when wet. 
  • Coast Guard requires 178 ft of clearance. NOT 116 ft. 
  • Bridge pylon rebar must go down 350 ft to hit solid ground. 
  • Is the license plate database sold? To whom? 
  • Architectural projects now provide photo-realistic rendering, often with full motion simulation. The WSDOT/ODOT drawings are inaccurate and frankly laughable. For example, light rail lacks ANY overhead catenary power infrastructure. 

Island issues: 

  • Max train can offer NO Express service. Too many stops. Slow and inconvenient. 
  • The Bridge toll kills Hayden Island’s Mall. 
  • Manheim’s Car auction will close, taking dozens of local businesses with it. 
  • What reparations for loss of Mall, businesses, housing, pollution, noise, tolls, property values. 
  • How is Hayden Island’s large Latino and minority population served? 

One bridge option is NOT an option. 

  • A lift or bascule bridge solves the height problem. 
  • An immersed tunnel solves the ramp safety violations. 
  • A tunnel for mass transit (a la Musk or other) is cheaper and safer. 

In conclusion, the IBR project appears to violate basic safety considerations with ramps that are too steep and a height that slows traffic. 

The bulk of the budget is spent “fixing” the raised highway problem, north and south of the bridge. Not the bridge. It destroys the economic vitality of Hayden Island and its future. 

The height of the bridge is the main problem. That could be solved with a lift bridge or an immersed tunnel. 

Sam Churchill
Hayden Island resident

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