At a single spot crossing over a local river.
On the highway that is a lifeline between three states and three different countries.
I’m talking about Interstate 5 as it crosses the Columbia River between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington.
This is no feeble attempt at creative writing. This is what happened on Saturday May 21, 2011 when there were nine bridge lifts on the Interstate Bridge in a single day because the Columbia River was approaching flood stage and so many more vessels on the water required ‘extra space on top’ as a result.
Columbia River At Vancouver Highest In 14 Years
With the Columbia River hitting flood stage today (the 16′ mark at Vancouver), it’s officially the highest it has been since 1997. And it should rise at least another six inches and then hold there into the first week of June! Here are some of the impacts:
- Flooding at Cottonwood Beach in Washougal
- Flooding along sections of the very popular waterfront trail in Vancouver, WA
- Flooding along Clark County’s busy Salmon Creek Trail
- Sand where boaters usually park and people camp on Memorial Day Weekend is underwater on Government Island
- Debris is piling up by marinas and near the houseboats where people live
Bridge lifts will continue to be a nuisance for at least a couple of weeks. During parts of the morning and evening rush hours, lifts should be limited. But lifts may happen frequently other times of the day and anytime on weekends. There have been 36 bridge lifts in just the last ten days. That’s believed to be twice as many as is typical.
And you better get used to it. Heavy rain east of the Cascades along with snow melt and required releases from reservoirs like Grand Coulee Dam in Washington will keep river levels about the same into the first week of June if not longer.
We asked an official how this works and he told KOIN Local 6 Report Eric Taylor that river traffic has the right of way, because “the rivers were here long before the highways.”
He’s got a point. A painful one. But still, I see his point! Check out Eric’s entire story, here.
The picture in this post if from clarkcountyblog.com, showing a Vancouver trail that’s underwater.