Klickitat County And Port of Hood River Awarded $5M Federal Build Grant

Transportation planning grant enables replacement bridge preconstruction Phase 2

GOLDENDALE, WASH. – On September 10 Klickitat County and the Port of Hood River received notification from their congressional delegation of approval of a $5 million grant award from the federal BUILD Transportation Discretionary Grant program (“Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development”) to fund Phase 2 of the ongoing effort to replace the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge. The funds will be used to advance engineering efforts and carry out important organizational and financial planning tasks.

“I’m pleased to have secured funds to advance the process of restoring and rebuilding the nearly 100-year-old bridge on which so many folks in White Salmon, Bingen, and other communities in Southwest Washington rely. I was honored to help secure these federal dollars as a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, and it’s great to see crucial steps being made on this long-overdue project,” Herrera-Beutler said.

The Port submitted the joint application with Klickitat County earlier this year and the project received unanimous support from the congressional delegation of both states. “Klickitat County appreciates the advocacy of Rep. Herrera-Beutler’s office with the US Dept. of Transportation to make this funding a reality,” Klickitat County Commissioner David Sauter reiterated.

The $5 million grant will be matched with $1.25 million from the Port of Hood River, for a total project budget of $6.25 million. Klickitat County will coordinate the review process for selecting the engineering firm and lead the technical advisory committee moving forward. Sauter applauded the work of Port staff, government affairs consultants and local government officials on both side of the river in guiding the application through to approval, but noted that the effort to replace the bridge began in 1999 with the launch of the first formal feasibility study by the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council. “The bi-state collaboration for this project has been sort of a relay race for many years. I think the recent efforts of local governments on both sides of the river working together in tandem for the first-time meeting regularly to map a pathway forward to a new bridge has been key. This grant approval is a big win for that approach and a sign of project success,” Sauter added.

The grant will fund project management, future bridge governance evaluation, traffic/toll revenue estimates, 15% engineering design, geotechnical borings, and legal expenses and the grant’s project completion is expected in May 2022. “The bridge replacement

project is really 20 years old now, and has several stops and starts due to funding,” said Bridge Replacement Project Director Kevin Greenwood. “The Oregon legislature provided $5 million in funding in 2017 for completion of the NEPA process, and now this BUILD grant funding will enable us to continue our work without a pause between those two phases. This is very good news as it will move the project from a concept into the design phase.”