Over 100 options were studied during this project’s Feasibility Study Phase (2016-2018), including tunnels, ferries and other bridge options. From that study, four bridge alternatives (and a no-build or “do-nothing” option) were recommended for further evaluation.
Since then, the Fixed Bridge alternative was dismissed from further study due to a large number of impacts that were identified through a navigational study. The Fixed Bridge would have extended far into town on both sides of the river to achieve the height needed for river traffic to pass underneath. Three remaining alternatives are now being studied in the environmental review phase.
During the environmental review phase, we will study and document the benefits and drawbacks of each alternative. By the end of this process, we will have selected a final alternative to design and build.
Below are the remaining three alternatives:
Enhanced Seismic Retrofit
This alternative would upgrade the existing bridge to maintain functionality after a large earthquake and strengthen the bridge to accommodate heavy commercial vehicles, and to improve post-earthquake recovery. It includes a combination of retrofitting portions of the bridge and replacing others. The width would remain the same as the existing bridge.
Replacement: Movable Bridge (In-Kind)
This alternative would construct a new movable bridge at about the same height and location as the current bridge. It would be wider than the existing bridge to accommodate more space for bikes, pedestrians and transit.
Replacement: Movable Bridge – NE Couch Connection
This alternative would construct a new movable bridge of about the same height as the current bridge. The intent is to smooth out the tight existing NE Couch Street curve, allowing easier movement for freight, large vehicles, and a future westbound Streetcar. Instead of NE Couch Street connecting into Burnside where it does now on the eastside, the bridge would extend out and over Northeast 2nd Avenue and the highway and connect back to the bridge at a point over the river. At midspan, it would be wider than the existing bridge to accommodate more space for bikes, pedestrians and transit.