Two interstate bridges cross the Columbia River to connect the Portland area to southwest Washington ( Vancouver), where I live. One bridge is the Interstate 205 bridge, also known as the Glen Jackson bridge. The other is the Interstate 5 bridge, commonly known as the I-5 bridge. I travel over both bridges frequently, but my favorite is the I-5 bridge.

The bridge is constructed with heavy metal girders covering the roadway, similar to some railroad bridges I've seen. In the center, a section of the bridge was designed so that it can be lifted straight up for large boats to pass underneath. There are three lanes in each direction. The bridge isn't flat, which seems strange to me. The road seems to curve slightly up and down, like a gentle roller coaster.

The I-5 bridge is my favorite bridge to drive over in the Portland area, but only when its sunny outside. The sun pouring through the girders casts strange shadows over the road and my car. When you drive over the bridge, its almost like you are in a dream. The shadows ripple over your car so quickly that you become almost dizzy looking at them. Its even better with the windows down, because then you hear the birds who live in the girders chirping loudly in order to be heard over the traffic noise.

The Interstate Bridge, as its bland official name goes, is in reality two parallel bridges. The eastern of the two was constructed originally in 1917. In face of increasing traffic, the second was added in 1958. Each of the two bridges has three lanes, and the structures also have a sidewalk for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the bridge on.

The bridges are becoming inadequate to carry the large traffic load of commuters going between the bedroom community of Vancouver, WA and jobs in Portland, OR and Washington County. While the possibility of adding a third bridge has been proposed, this is not a very practical idea as their is not a corresponding freeway infrastructure on the Portland side for the bridge to connect into. It has been hoped that MAX light rail would be expanded and extended across the Columbia to Vancouver, but in the past funding has failed to be approved by voters. However, I suspect that such a connection will be in place before 2010.

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