We hope this newsletter finds you and your loved ones healthy. While it’s been some time since our last newsletter about the Industrial Way/Oregon Way Intersection (IWOW) Project, we’ve been busy working to refine the project design and wanted to share some updates with you.
A refined design
In fall 2018, the public outreach for the project slowed down after updated cost estimates put the proposed project designs well over the allocated $85 million budget. However, behind the scenes, the work hasn’t stopped. Engineers, planners and designers began to roll up their sleeves and go through a multi-step process to simplify the project design and reduce cost while maintaining key project benefits.
By late 2019, a new design emerged that came within striking distance of the budget and preserved most of the key benefits from previous options. This new design, which we’re calling Grade-Separated Updated (GSA-Updated), is a simplified version of one of the original alternatives studied in the environmental review.
The updated design features:
- Smaller, simplified bridges and bridge types.
- Realigned rail lines to reduce costs.
- Shorter timeframe for road closures on Oregon Way during construction.
Our goals remain the same: to improve travel reliability and safety for all users, to maintain or improve emergency response times, and to facilitate more efficient travel through the intersection to support economic opportunities regionwide. The new project design has an estimated cost of 98 million. While still not within the 85 million in available funds, our project partners, under the City of Longview’s lead, are seeking federal grant support to help close the gap.
At the same time, the project design team is also continuing efforts to refine the design to reduce the project impact and reduce overall costs where feasible. Construction on this project could begin as early as spring 2022, though the outcome of additional funding from grant applications and continued project design will inform the project schedule.
Federal grants could close the funding gap
Faced with the remaining $13 million funding gap, City of Longview officials worked with other project partners this spring to apply for three federal grants: an INFRA Grant, a BUILD Grant and a CRISI Grant. While the project was not selected to receive additional funds via an INFRA Grant, the strong state funding already in place—thanks to the Washington State Legislature’s 2015 Connecting Washington transportation funding package—and the compelling need for the project should make the BUILD Grant and the CRISI Grant applications stand out from the competition.
Some of the benefits anticipated over a 20-year operations period highlighted in the applications are:
- An estimated 23.9 million hours of travel time savings (19.5 million hours and 4.4 million hours of time savings for passenger cars and trucks, respectively) resulting in $76.7 million in savings.
- Increase in employment and economic activity by 1,070 jobs due to design and construction activities.
- Fuel consumption reductions estimated to be worth $6.2 million.
- Reduction in total crashes due to grade-separated intersection configuration, saving $7.0 million.
- The facilitation of up to 3,335 new jobs at the Port of Longview’s Barlow Point property.
Qualitative benefits such as reliable emergency response times, reliable travel times during train crossings, and increased quality of life due to better and safer bicycle/pedestrian and multimodal access.
Grant applications, along with support letters, benefit-cost analyses and other supporting documents are available on the documents page. Stay tuned later this year when grant recipients will be announced.
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