In 2018, publicly the project went quiet after updated cost estimates put the designs well over the allocated $85 million project, but behind the scenes, the work didn’t stop. Engineers, planners and designers began an iterative 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 earlier design concepts. This new design is a simplified version of one of the original alternatives studied in the environmental review. The newly estimated cost is $98.4 million, and project partners under the City of Longview’s lead sought federal grant support in 2020 and 2021 to close the gap. While the IWOW project was not awarded federal grant funds, we are continuing work with local partners to identify additional funding options to build this design.
The updated design features:
- Smaller, simplified bridges and bridge types
- Realigned rail lines to reduce right-of-way costs
- Shorter timeframe for road closures on Oregon Way during construction
Another path forward is to build the proposed project in more than one phase. It’s important to highlight that this path has tradeoffs. When projects are constructed in phases, only parts of the project would be built at one time, so all the improvements from the project do not happen until all phases are complete, when more funding is available. Also, building projects in more than one phase costs more money overall and all project benefits are not often realized until all phases are complete. We are working with the Technical Advisory Committee, Executive Committee, and local partners to explore phasing, including setting goals and priorities for a phased approach, which will be used to evaluate phasing alternatives and inform decisions moving forward.
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.