Metro Council set to consider project to relieve major freeway bottleneck

A long-sought project to add a lane to a portion of Interstate 84 will go before the Metro Council on Thursday.

The project, which will extend one eastbound lane of I-84 about a half mile past Halsey Street in the Gateway District, is being fast-tracked by the Oregon Department of Transportation after it found cost savings around the state.

Drivers heading east on I-84 or toward Clark County on Interstate 205 have long suffered in the Gateway District, where I-84 narrows to two eastbound lanes.

“That far right lane is always backed up going to 205 north,” said Rian Windsheimer, a policy and development manager at ODOT. Drivers “zoom up in the left lane and cut over, so there’s no through lane,” he said, because drivers often slow down to cut in.

When the $6 million project is completed, the third eastbound lane will become an exit-only lane toward northbound I-205. Windsheimer said drivers are likely to still try to cut in, but they’ll be doing it from the middle lane, instead.