The Chelan Douglas Transportation Council is considering options for a third bridge across the Columbia River. 

The Council recently completed a study looking at four locations. 

Senior Transportation Planner Riley Shewak says the study will provide guidance for moving forward with a bridge project. 

"It provides us with a lot of good information and an understanding of what a new bridge would actually cost in various locations, and what the benefits and impacts of those bridges would be," said Shewak. 

A public comment period on the third bridge study will close on April 6th, and the Transportation Council board will be asked to adopt the findings of the study in May. 

Shewak says the study provides insight into how a third bridge would serve the community. 

“It was really just an effort to, sort of, sharpen our pencils, to understand what a bridge would do for the region if it were down near Rock Island if it were connecting the two downtowns of East Wenatchee and Wenatchee, or if it were right next to the Sellar Bridge. 

The four bridge options are: 

Downtown Connection  

  • An arterial connection providing local and short-distance trips between downtown cores of Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. 
  • Cost: $156 million to $272 million in 2024 dollars. 

SR285 Expansion  

  • A companion span to the Sellar Bridge (SR285) would provide additional highway capacity. The Sellar Bridge would handle westbound (WB) trips and a new parallel bridge would handle eastbound (EB) trips. 
  • Cost: $182 million to $318 million in 2024 dollars 

Mid-Valley Crossing  

  • An arterial connection providing local and short-distance trips between Malaga and East Wenatchee and supporting emerging development and access to Pangborn Airport. 
  • Cost: $186 million to $326 million in 2024 dollars 

Malaga/Rock Island Industrial Area  

  • An arterial connection providing local and short-distance trips between Rock Island and Malaga-Alcoa Highway supporting emerging industrial development. Would require new roundabouts at SR28 and Malaga Alcoa Hwy, WB left-turn lane at Malaga-Alcoa/Stemilt Creek Rd, and Malaga-Alcoa/Malaga Rd intersections 
  • Cost: $116 million to $203 million in 2024 dollars 

Long-Term Transportation Plan 

The Transportation Council is considering four different large, high-dollar projects with the likelihood that only one will ultimately come to fruition in time.  

They include the third bridge across the Columbia River, the widening of State Route 28 through the Rock Island corridor, a network of paved pathways connecting Wenatchee, Leavenworth, Chelan, and Malaga, and a project to provide bike lanes and sidewalks on almost all streets in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee. 

The Transportation Council is required to adopt its next regional transportation plan by October 2025. The 20-year transportation vision for the two-county area is updated every five years. It identifies transportation investments, funding strategies, and the revenue to pay for the investments.

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