Originally Posted by RED_PDXer
I pretty sure this concept will be shelved for quite some time. It was only done to appease the industrial property owners in the area and assure them that there was an option to underground the freeway without impacting private property. The cost of $11,000 means that virtually no serious engineering work went into the study.
The City and ODOT should just dump this freeway section, add a lane to I-405 and re-designate it as I-5, and institute congestion pricing on it through downtown. May cap a few blocks of the I-405 could be part of it.. who knows.
Removing I-5 won't fly, too many powerful interests would not be happy if they had to take I-5 north to go south on I-405. I can't see the feds being enthusiastic about funding it either, and widening I-405 would be nearly impossible without a bit of property acquisition, which again I can't see being a real possibility. I just can't see downtown accepting widening I-405 just to remove a freeway that's across the river from them, and downtown will win that fight fairly easily.
I do think selling air leases to build over I-405 would be a great idea, but I'm not sure if developers would find that to be a cost effective solution in Portland. I'm not sure if the extra costs of building in that style would be worth it for a developer to pay much versus just buying land elsewhere in Portland.
I have a feeling I-5 won't be a tunnel for a long time though. I doubt any local politicians will seriously push for it until the CRC is completed, and that doesn't sound like it'll be anytime soon. I'd have to guess a tunnel of the size and length they're talking about would end up being at least the price of the CRC, and even with the land that could be sold, I doubt if Portland's real estate is valuable enough to really make a huge dent in the overall cost.
Maybe by the time they get around to it they'll have Central and South Waterfront figured out, and the ConWay site might be finished, and the east side street car may have paid off. If all of that has happened, then I'd think burying I-5 might start looking a bit more worthwhile, and by then it would be a good excuse to replace the Marquam Bridge with a tunnel as well.