Still No Final Answer on Van Buren Bridge Question

The Corvallis City Council voted Monday, Aug. 19, to tie city ownership of the Van Buren Bridge to funding for moving it. The funding would need to come from the Oregon Department of Transportation, but ODOT has only set aside $900,000 for disposition of the bridge, and it would cost $6 million to relocate it.  

ODOT says they will not be increasing the amount. 

The bridge needs to be moved or demolished so a seismically updated bridge with additional lanes can be built. 

The city has until Aug. 31 to apply for ownership, but the city council does not see a way forward where ODOT doesn’t guarantee the funds to cover the full moving costs. 

Ward 6 City Councilor Nancy Wyse says that the city will not apply for ownership without a commitment from ODOT to pay the full price for moving the bridge. 

City Manager Mark Shepard said, “I’m not anti-bridge, but I am cautious about the strain on city resources. If ODOT paid to move the bridge and somebody else owned it, I could recommend taking a look at that. It’s not in our Strategic Operational Plan. It’s not in our Transportation System Plan. It’s just not on our radar for funding.” 

By Hannah Ramsey