The projected total cost of the bi-state Interstate Bridge Replacement program is $6 billion, according to Greg Johnson, Interstate Bridge Replacement program administrator.
The new projected cost identified an estimate range of $5 to $7.5 billion, which was created by internal and independent experts, including a rigorous process that considers cost escalation and inflation factors affecting transportation projects across the country. Those factors include historically high inflation rates, workforce shortages, materials cost increases due to supply chain issues, and other market conditions.
“Construction projects across the country are experiencing unprecedented cost increases due to supply chain issues and increasing material and labor costs as well as other factors, and our program is no exception,” said Johnson. “We are confident that the program will land within the projected cost estimate range, and we are actively working to secure funding and manage cost escalation risks.”
The previous conceptual cost estimate identified a high end of $4.8 billion when it was developed in 2020, based on the scope of the previous Columbia River Crossing project. The new cost estimate for the IBR program covers the components of the Modified Locally Preferred Alternative, which in July 2022 was discussed with the Bi-State Legislative Committee and endorsed by the regional program partners of the Executive Steering Group.
The Modified Locally Preferred Alternative includes:
- Replacement of the Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River
- One auxiliary lane southbound and northbound, and three through lanes
- Extension of light rail transit from Portland to Vancouver to connect the existing bus rapid transit complemented by express bus service
- The addition of three new light rail station locations including the at-grade Evergreen station
- Replacement of the North Portland Harbor Bridge
- A partial interchange on Hayden Island
- A full interchange on Marine Drive
- A bridge from Marine Drive to Hayden Island for access to North Portland
The new estimate sets the foundation for developing the program’s financial plan, anticipated in early 2023, which will include additional details on estimated funding sources and financing approach. Funding for the cost estimate will require revenue from a diverse range of sources, including federal funds, state funds from both Oregon and Washington and tolling. The anticipated cost falls within the range of confirmed and potential funding sources currently identified, which include:
- Existing state funding – $100 million
- Connecting Washington transportation package – Mill Plain Interchange – $98 million
- Move Ahead Washington transportation package – $1 billion
- Anticipated Oregon funding – $1 billion
- Toll funding – $1.25 to $1.6 billion – This range is consistent with toll revenue estimates for the prior program. A Level 2 Traffic & Revenue analysis for IBR will be reviewed by both states.
- Federal grants – $860 million to $1.60 billion
- Federal Transit Administration New Starts Capital Investment Grants – $900 million to $1.1 billion
“Controlling costs for a mega project like the Interstate Bridge Replacement program is a dynamic process, and we will continue to identify and refine possible funding sources and address cost escalation risks and opportunities,” said Johnson. “As we work to minimize costs within our control, we will keep our focus on delivering a multimodal replacement bridge and transportation corridor that keeps our region’s economy moving and improves safety. Regional and national partner support, combined with state and federal funding which we have already received and for which we are well positioned, presents us with a unique window of opportunity to get this project completed.”
More information about new cost estimate process is available in an online Cost Estimate fact sheet.