Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visits I-5 Bridge

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, the agency’s top official, visited Vancouver on Tuesday, Feb. 13 as a guest of the Interstate Bridge Replacement program (IBR). He toured the bridge and its mechanical room to highlight the need for their replacement. Dignitaries on the tour included Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and Washington Governor Jay Inslee along with a group of partners representing both sides of the Columbia River.

Buttigieg touring I-5 Bridge
Sec. Buttigieg touring I-5 Bridge

The northbound bridge was built in 1917. It remains a vital connection between Portland and Vancouver, as well as an economically significant link along the west coast as an international trade route. 

The bridge replacement proposal particularly affects the Hayden Island community due to potential livability issues as well as possible problems with access to Vancouver. Residential areas in North Portland and Linnton are affected by cut-through traffic largely consisting of I-5 Bridge users. In addition North Portland residents have been affected by constant traffic jams in the I-5 corridor and resulting air pollution. It is unclear how or if these affected communities are being included in advisory discussions. 

Buttigieg did not discuss additional federal funding for the Bridge Replacement although it is hoped by officials that the visit highlights strong federal support for replacing the Interstate Bridge with a new multimodal structure.

Buttigieg with cupcake
US Transportation Sec. Pete Buttigieg holds a celebratory cupcake during his visit the day before the Interstate Bridge’s 107th birthday

Upcoming IBR Advisory Group Meetings & Events

Executive Steering Group
 Tuesday, March 5 — 1pm to 3pm

Community Advisory Group 
Thursday, March 14 — 4pm to 6pm

IBR Office Hours

To find out more about these meetings and get more information contact the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project headquarters in Vancouver, Washington. They answer questions on a range of topics in person or virtually. NOTE: No new technical data will be available until the release of the environmental documentation. 

Make a 30-minute reservation at least 24 hours in advance. There are three ways you can make a reservation: Visit: SignUpGenius
, Email:
 or call: 888-503-6735