Tuesday, January 13, 2009

More analysis needed on Crossing's CO2 emissions

An independent panel of experts has completed its review of the greenhouse gas emissions analysis on the Columbia River Crossing project and concluded it could use some more work.

The draft environmental impact statement released last May "likely underestimate(s)" the greenhouse gas emissions reductions that would come with a new bridge compared to the no-build alternative, according to the panel's report released last week. The new bridge wouldn't include a lift and would have improved safety features meant to lower the risk of traffic accidents. But the draft analysis didn't account for emissions created by congestion on the bridge due to lift activity or accidents.

We expect that the build scenarios, especially those that eliminate the bridge lifts and reduce crash-related congestion, will further reduce carbon emissions...

The panel also suggests seaparating the emissions analysis on the transit portion of the project from the highway portion. Adding transit to the bridge may not actually lower greenhouse gas emissions overall. Train or bus rapid transit operations, depending on how frequently they run, could end up greater than or equal to the emissions saved by getting people out of their cars and onto transit. More analysis is needed in the final EIS.

The panel's full report is available on the CRC's web site.

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