Skip to main content

About

Project Improvements

The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project will make travel more predictable and safer for people driving and transporting goods on I-5 between I-84 and I-405 by adding auxiliary lanes and shoulders that smooth traffic flow. The project includes a highway cover to reconnect the historic Albina neighborhood and street improvements that enhance safety and access for people walking, rolling, biking, riding transit and driving on local streets. The project will support the regional economy, future economic development and a more connected Albina community. Project improvements include:

  • new ramp-to-ramp lanes (auxiliary lanes) and shoulders along I-5 to reduce weaving and merging, improve safety and smooth traffic flow between I-84 and I-405
  • a highway cover over I-5 that will create new community spaces and enhance safety and connections for people walking, rolling, riding transit, biking and driving on local streets
  • relocation of the southbound I-5 off-ramp to south of Weidler at NE Wheeler Avenue to provide more and better space for people walking, rolling, riding transit and biking and support local street and neighborhood connections on the highway cover
  • upgrades to bicycle and pedestrian facilities on the local street network in the vicinity of the Broadway-Weidler interchange to improve accessibility and safety

Visual representation of the future highway cover and the location of improvements. 

*This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.

Project Benefits
This project will improve community connections by redesigning overpasses, reconnecting neighborhood streets and enhancing public spaces. Improvements will:

  • provide more time and space to merge on I-5 for smoother traffic flow 
  • save drivers travel time –  nearly 2.5 million hours per year on I-5 in the Rose Quarter
  • improve safety for travelers and reduce frequent crashes by up to 50%
  • upgrade I-5 shoulders allowing emergency responders to move through the corridor
  • create new land for neighborhood street connections and redevelopment opportunities
  • knit neighborhoods together through the City of Portland’s local Green Loop connection – a carbon-free way to navigate the city
  • create additional sidewalks and bike paths providing many options for safer travel for people walking and rolling
  • maximize Disadvantaged Business Enterprise contracting opportunities, estimated at $260 million
  • support economic opportunities that honor the local communities' needs and provide the potential for wealth creation




Three Interstates (I-5, I-84, and I-405) intersect in the short distance between the Morrison Bridge and the Fremont Bridge. The closely spaced interchanges and minimal shoulders create the worst bottleneck in the state of Oregon, the 28th worst bottleneck in the nation, and have the highest crash rate of any Oregon urban interstate.

Ramp-to-ramp connections (auxiliary lanes) typically provide a direct connection that allows people to transition from one interchange ramp to the next without merging into through traffic. A recent ODOT study found that ramp-to-ramp connections are an effective way to improve safety and reduce bottleneck congestion.

In the Portland Metro area, ODOT has completed or is planning auxiliary lane projects on I-5 and I-205. The new auxiliary lane on I-5 southbound from OR 217 to I-205 addressed the bottleneck and improved upstream traffic as well as traffic on OR 217. At the section of highway where auxiliary lanes were added, congestion was reduced from five hours a day to one hour a day and save motorists an estimated $8.4 million of delay each year.


With a new ramp-to-ramp lane in each direction on I-5 from I-84 to I-405, drivers will experience a safer, more reliable trip with less potential for crashes. Adding full shoulders will provide space for vehicles to get safely off the roadway and give emergency service vehicles safer and quicker access to an emergency within or beyond the Rose Quarter area.


Conceptual rendering of the future location of the auxiliary lanes along I-5.

*This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.​​​​​

​WHAT IS A HIGHWAY COVER?

A highway cover is a concrete and steel platform that is placed over a highway, similar to a wide bridge. As part of the project, there is an opportunity to reconnect the Albina community by replacing existing bridges with one continuous highway cover over I-5 that provides the opportunity for new neighborhood places.

The new cover will include seismic upgrades, making the structures over I-5 in this area more resilient in the event of an earthquake.


HYBRID 3 HIGHWAY COVER

Multiple different designs for the highway cover were evaluated through an Independent Cover Asse​ssment​. Hybrid 3 is the design option that was selected for providing the greatest community benefit. The highway cover connects streets that are currently divided by I-5. It will also add additional land, allowing for wider sidewalks and new spaces for community activities. Once built, the cover will be able to hold buildings two to three stories tall. It will also meet seismic (earthquake) standards, making the structure over I-5 more resilient in the event of an earthquake and provides critical transportation access for community members and first responders.

Conceptual rendering of the future location of the highway cover.

 *This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.​​​​​​

The Hybrid 3 design option maintains the existing N Flint Avenue I-5 overcrossing. In the future, people walking, biking, and driving will also be able to use a new connection over I-5 connecting N and NE Hancock Street. Currently there are few east-west connections over I-5 in the area. The Hancock Crossing was recommended by the community as an additional east-west connection for people to cross I-5 to access current or future destinations in Lower Albina.

This new crossing on a lower-volume street than Broadway or Weidler will include space for people walking and bicycling, creating a safe and more connected option for everyone traveling in the Albina neighborhood. It is aligned to Central City policies to develop and implement strategies to lessen the impact of freeways and other transportation systems on neighborhood continuity including capping, burying or other innovative approaches.

Conceptual rendering of the east-west Hancock Crossing over I-5.

*This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.

The project moves the I-5 southbound off-ramp to south of NE Weidler at NE Wheeler Avenue. The I-5 southbound on-ramp location will not change. Once the project is complete, both the southbound on- and off-ramps will be located south of the N Broadway and NE Weidler travel routes. This change improves and increases space for people walking and rolling and supports local street and neighborhood connections on the highway cover.

Relocating the I-5 southbound off-ramp will reduce interactions between vehicles exiting I-5 and people walking, rolling and biking along local streets on the highway cover.

Conceptual rendering of the future location of the I-5 southbound off-ramp, south of NE Weidler, at NE Wheeler Avenue. 

*This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.

​Local street improvements will make streets safer by offering greater visibility, protection, and access to people walking, rolling and biking through the Rose Quarter area.

Throughout the area, the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project will upgrade sidewalks and bike lanes, install Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant curb ramps, and make lighting and other street improvements. It will also build new protected bike lanes with sufficient space for people traveling on the city's busiest bikeway. The goal behind these improvements is to address Vision Zero safety priorities and make the area more accessible.

Conceptual rendering of the future pedestrian/bicycle network's grid. 

*This image is a conceptual draft and is subject to change based on technical analysis and public input.


Cost and Funding

To meet the requirements of Oregon's House Bill 2017, the project provided a cost-to-complete report to the Legislature on January 23, 2020. Partial funding for design and construction phases was provided in the bill. The legislature authorized $30 million per year, beginning in January 2022, for the project based on the estimated project cost of approximately $450 to $500 million (in 2017 dollars).

The total project cost increased with approval of the Hybrid 3 design concept which expands the length and width of the cover to allow for more buildings on top –  up between $500 million and $750 million. Those costs were preliminary (based a 5% design concept) and were expected to change based on further design and technical analysis from the project team. One of the conditions of approval of the Hybrid 3 design concept outlined by the Oregon Transportation Commission was that ODOT must develop a finance plan to be presented to the Commission on January 20, 2022 that includes:

  • an estimate of the amount of dedicated funding needed to build the project
  • a viable plan to secure that dedicated funding from federal, state and/or the City of Portland, Metro, Multnomah County, TriMet and other organizations in Portland

The project team is on track to deliver the draft finance plan to the Oregon Transportation Commission as they have requested. That plan includes refined cost estimates and the federal, state and local funding sources that will provide the financing needed to cover the full cost of the project. This is a conceptual finance plan, intended to kick off the financial planning process for the project.

Your browser is out-of-date! It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites. Learn how

×