US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visits I-5 Bridge

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 I-5 Bridge and its mechanical room to highlight the need for their replacement. Dignitaries on the tour included Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee along with a group of partners representing both sides of the Columbia River.

Buttigieg touring I-5 Bridge
Pete Buttigieg touring I-5 Bridge

The northbound bridge section 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 using the Bridge. In addition, North Portland residents have been affected by constant traffic jams in the I-5 corridor and resulting air pollution. It is unclear if representatives from these communities are being included in advisory discussions.

Buttigieg did not discuss additional federal funding for the Bridge Replacement Program although it is hoped the visit signals strong federal support from the Biden administration for replacing the Interstate Bridge.

Buttigieg with cupcake for the I-5 Bridge 107th Birthday
Buttigieg with cupcake to celebrate the I-5 Bridge 107th Birthday

Upcoming IBR Events:

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

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

To find out more about these meetings and get more information contact the Interstate Bridge Replacement Project: Visit: or Email: or Call: 888-503-6735