There is no reason to demolish the Van Buren Bridge; it has been recently paved and inspected. The Coast Guard requirement is outdated as the Willamette River hasn't been used for commercial shipping in decades. The money should be saved to build the north bypass to earthquake standards per the Oregon Department of Transportation's recommendation in its own 2008 analysis. It identified the traffic bottleneck at Second and Van Buren, not the bridge. This will do nothing to alleviate congestion leaving downtown. The council didn't ask for this, the Coast Guard didn't ask for this, there is no reason to demolish this functioning historic bridge.
The logic that we must spend $69 million on an unnecessary project or we lose the money is twisted, especially when we lose a historic resource in the process. We should not make a rushed decision on a century-old bridge. The council's correct move was not the false choice presented by ODOT but to reject the project as presented.
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Corvallis (Oct. 22)