Committee getting ready to narrow choices for bridge - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Committee getting ready to narrow choices for bridge over Columbia

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PASCO, Wash. -- Members of the Columbia Crossing Steering Committee are getting ready to narrow down their choices of where they think a new bridge should cross the Columbia River in the Tri Cities.

Wednesday, they heard from several people at a public meeting at Chiawana High School.

 The majority of the people who spoke out don't want a new bridge, mostly because of what it would do to their property or property values, but committee chairman Bill Clark says if you don't plan for the future, you'll fail.  "We understand their frustrations.  We don't want to destroy anyone's property values, but the fact remains, if we don't plan, we will fail," said Bill Clark.  "And there are a lot of examples of failing to plan around this country where transportation took a back seat to a lot of other things, and in the end, the entire community, the entire region fails because of a lack of transportation. Take a look at the Seattle area. It's a mess. We want to try to avoid that by doing the best job we can of planning ahead, even if it's 20-to-50-years out. At least let's take a shot at it," said Clark.

The options are a bridge next to the Blue Bridge, one connecting Edison and Road 68, one connecting road 100 and Columbia Center Boulevard and one from roughly Sagemoor Road in Franklin County to the 300 area in Benton County.

In an online survey, the majority voted for either the Edison to Road 68 connection, or the North Franklin Bridge (Sagemoor to 300 area) option.

The steering committee is meeting Thursday morning to narrow the choices to three.  They'll pass their recommendation to the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments.  They'll make the final decision.  Clark estimates it could be 20-years before a new bridge is built.