Officials Pleased with Completion
Oregon Libe says port officials, business and union leaders, and politicians for Oregon and Washington have "patted each other on the back" for completing the US$178 million deepening of the Columbia River channel, a project 20 years in the making.
"This channel is part of a transportation system that is critically important to the future of both our states," said Oregon Gov Ted Kulongoski.
The project, carried out by the US Army Corp of Engineers, deepened the shipping channel from 40ft to 43ft from Astoria to Portland.
A coalition of ports and businesses that use the river have pushed hard for the deepening to allow larger ship. Environmentalists fought the project as potentially harmful to salmon and allowing contamination of estuaries.
Lawsuits were eventually settled, and monitoring, which will continue for three years, so far has not revealed significant environmental damage.
The channel deepening project will keep 700,000 trucks a year off Interstate 5, said Paula Hammond, Washington secretary of transportation.
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