Columbia River Crossing

Authors: Portland Health Impact Assessment Workgroup

Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Interstate 5 Bridge
Transit and highway improvements made by the project will lead to a 75% decrease in collisions while accommodating for multimodal transportation.

Completion Date: June 2008

HIA Report: Columbia River Crossing Health Impact Assessment

Summary of the HIA

Proposed Policy or Project

The Columbia River Crossing (CRC) Project proposes four alternatives to the present Interstate 5 bridge that spans the Columbia River and connects southwest Washington to Portland, Oregon.

Background and Policy Context

Interstate 5 directly connects the cities of Vancouver, Washington and Portland, Oregon via a bridge over the Columbia River. Transit connections within the CRC project area are currently constrained by many of the same problems facing highway motorists—outdated highway safety design features and traffic congestion are increasing travel times and reducing reliability for buses connections between Clark County and to Portland. In addition to the bridge itself, the project area—a five-mile section of I-5 between SR 500 in Vancouver and Columbia Boulevard in Portland, includes six interchanges that connect three state highways and several major arterial roadways. Joined by various state and local transportation agencies The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) are leading efforts to conduct a federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed project and alternatives. Separate from the EIS process, an ad hoc group, the Portland Health Impact Assessment Workgroup led by the Multnomah County Health Department (Portland, OR), conducted a health impact assessment of the project. This HIA subsequently provided a foundation for health department comments on the DEIR. The final EIS, which will include responses to comments, is due to be released late summer or early fall 2009.

Scope and Methods

Using existing data and a literature review the HIA examines the potential health impacts of the proposed bridge alternatives studied in the EIS and second outlines the recommendations for mitigating negative health impacts associated. Specific areas of health-related impacts addressed in the HIA include transportation (physical activity and obesity), (traffic) safety, air quality, noise and environmental justice issues.

Summary of Findings

The Portland Health Impact Assessment Workgroup made the following recommendations based on the assessments made on health impacts:

  • Maximize use of Light Rail Transit
  • Support transit alignments that serve low income and minority populations without severing community cohesion
  • Promote roadway and interchange improvements that increase safety
  • Create safe and accessible bike and pedestrian facilities
  • Promote tolling to discourage motor vehicle use, particularly single occupancy motor vehicle use
  • Offer alternatives that do not increase SOV capacity on the roadway, especially during peak periods

In addition, recommendations were also made for additional analysis in regards to transportation and safety.

Background Reports


Sandy Johnson


Multnomah County Health Department Health Assessment & Evaluation
426 SW Stark St., 9th Floor

(503) 988-3674