Big Columbia River Crossing (CRC) news, everyone. The experimental "open web" design for the bridge is dead. The governor-appointed expert review panel on the state's largest transportation project determined over the summer that the planned double-decker, open-web design was untested anywhere else in the world and would require an three years of additional engineering to the estimated tune of $600,000.

In their final report (pdf) released yesterday afternoon, the 16-member panel said the project should kill its poor design and offered three alternative ideas. Governor John Kitzhaber and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire announced just a few hours later that they would order the project to discontinue any work on the current design.

So this bridge? No more.


While it's a good step forward for the project, it's a major blow to the design team, since they're essentially throwing out years of work. The project has already cost over $100 million for planning, including over $30 million on engineering and design consultants. In the immortal words of Kevin "Ug" Lee: "Do it right, or pay the price."

Remarkably, the three new bridge designs are not only $10 to $100 million cheaper, they're also (in my opinion) better looking. Those three designs and their pricetags below the cut.

Frankly, anyone who pays taxes in Oregon or Washington should be pissed. A group of 16 experts, called together only because local citizens and four politicians incessantly demanded the bridge design be reexamined, was able to think of three designs that were better and cheaper than the work an entire project team was able to accomplish in far longer.

Okay, here are the three new design ideas. The final report has a breakdown of the bike/ped and other facilities on each, if you want more detail.

Cable stayed option
  • Cable stayed option
Tied arch option
  • Tied arch option
Composite Truss option
  • Composite Truss option