PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - Multnomah County commissioners are voting on increasing vehicle registration fees to help fund the “Earthquake Ready Burnside Bridge Project.”
On Thursday, commissioners voted 5-0 in support of increasing the fee from $19 to $56. A second vote is required, which will take place Dec. 5.
The increase is expected to raise $250 million and would go into effect in January 2021.
County leaders say this is a critical issue and released a simulation that shows the Burnside Bridge crumbling in a major earthquake.
None of the downtown bridges are expected to withstand the kind of 9.0 magnitude Cascadia Zone quake predicted to one day hit the area.
County leaders said they want to make sure the Burnside Bridge can be a lifeline connecting both sides of the river if the big one does hit.
The options for how to make that happen have been narrowed down to:
- An enhanced seismic retrofit that upgrades the existing bridge.
- A replacement movable bridge on the same alignment as the existing bridge.
- A replacement movable bridge that extends NE Couch Street west toward the river, eliminating the sharp curve on the current westbound approach.
Studies will be done on which build option is the best, along with how best to manage traffic impacts during construction.
The bridge project would take eight to 10 years to complete and cost between $550 to $850 million, depending on which option is selected.
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