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Metro Council Approves I-205 Design Project in Oregon

Tue May 03, 2022 - West Edition #10
WSDOT


The Metro Council approved amendments to the 2018 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) and the 2021-2026 Metro Improvement Program (MTIP) to add the preliminary engineering phase of the I-205 Toll Project to the guiding regional transportation documents. The vote allows the project to proceed with an environmental assessment and further design work.

The I-205 Toll Project will use variable-rate tolls on the Abernethy and Tualatin River Bridges to raise revenue to complete the I-205 Improvements Project and to reduce congestion.

Previously, the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation recommended the Metro Council approve the amendments.

"ODOT appreciates the continued feedback and engagement from the members of the Metro Council and the Joint Policy Advisory Committee on Transportation. This vote ensures positive forward progress toward an equitable toll program for all travelers, and the vital safety and seismic improvements on I-205," said Urban Mobility Office Director of Strategic Initiatives Mandy Putney. "We look forward to continued engagement with stakeholders throughout the region as we work to bring these projects to fruition."

ODOT is moving forward with the development of the I-205 Toll Project Environmental Assessment. It will present an analysis of two alternatives: the Build Alternative (tolling) and the No Build Alternative. The Environmental Assessment will be available for public review and comment this summer.

Congestion Drops With Tolling

A new study shows traffic congestion on I-205 near Oregon City could be reduced from 14 hours to two hours daily once the 7 mi. of I-205 construction improvements are complete and variable rate tolls to manage congestion are used.

The analysis found that drivers could see a 50 percent decrease in afternoon travel time and a 25 percent decrease in the morning. In addition, travel times would become more reliable, and the number of crashes would shrink, improving efficiency and safety.

According to the technical modeling based on regionally adopted traffic data, not tolling and not building the I-205 Improvements Project by 2045 would result in 14 daily hours of congestion on I-205 and an increase in crashes in this region.

"Reduced congestion means reduced emissions, which provides climate benefits and is good news for I-205 travelers and freight haulers," said Putney. "We are now focused on mitigating impacts on local roads and intersections where congestion could be worse. We invite members of the community to learn more and discuss how to address these issues at our upcoming webinars."

When entirely constructed, the I-205 Improvements Project will address the bottleneck caused by the last remaining two-lane section of I-205.

The project will reduce crashes and daily congestion by adding a third lane in each direction with shoulders that could accommodate buses in the future if transit agencies determine they are needed. ODOT is currently studying the effects of tolling for the region by compiling an in-depth Environmental Assessment. This report will be available for public review and comment in June.

As part of the environmental review, ODOT has heard many questions and concerns from Clackamas County residents about the potential for increased traffic on local streets if vehicles try to avoid tolls on I-205. The upcoming webinar sessions will answer some of the questions and gain input on strategies to address local impacts.

About I-205 Project

The I-205 Toll Project would toll I-205 near the Abernethy and Tualatin River Bridges to raise revenue for construction of the planned I-205 Improvements Project and manage congestion between Stafford Road and Oregon Route 213 to give travelers a better and more reliable trip.

Tolls could begin on I-205 as early as late 2024. The process to implement a toll program requires substantial analysis, public input, construction, testing and driver education before the system can be operational. An Environmental Assessment for the I-205 Toll Project will be published for public review and comment this summer.

For more information, visit https://www.oregon.gov/odot/tolling/Pages/I-205-Tolling.aspx




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