P3 mooted for Columbia bridge

P3 is being considered to replace a major toll bridge on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest.

The Port of Hood River authority has revealed P3 is to be evaluated as one of two options to replace the Hood River/White Salmon Interstate Bridge, which connects Washington and Oregon, and the public agency has received expressions of interest to deliver the project.  

A public meeting was held Tuesday to discuss an increase of toll rates to fund capital upgrades, with a second meeting scheduled for November 7.

Ahead of the meeting the agency released a document to describe the critical need to replace the bridge in the next 10 years, and a way forward following the passage of two bills (HB 2750, HB 2017) during the 2017 Oregon legislative session. 

The document said: “It is absolutely clear that funding either the pre-construction or construction phases of a $280-300m replacement project is well beyond the capacity of the Port of Hood River acting alone. However, as a toll facility owned by a public agency, this bridge project presents unique state, local, and federal funding opportunities as well as the potential for innovative public/private partnerships.” 

It added: “The Port has already received interest in a partnership from private firms but it is not yet clear whether the terms or trade-offs necessary to affect such a project would be in the public interest.” 

A request for information (RFI) may be undertaken to identify the needs and expectations of potential private bridge development partners. Second, an evaluation of the public and P3 project delivery options will be undertaken and a preferred option selected. 

HDR and Stafford Bandlow have developed near and long-term work plans for the bridge. 

The document is available here