In a Record of Decision signed Dec. 7 by The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration, the two agencies have approved a new river crossing over the Columbia River, and a series of improvements to the I-5 corridor.

Plans include improvements to seven interchanges north and south of the river and replacing the bridges over the Columbia River that connect Vancouver to Portland, as well as related enhancements to the local street network, along with a new bridge over the Columbia River.

The ROD gives final clearance to the project's environmental review and allows Oregon and Washington to begin right-of-way acquisition and construction. The project carries an estimated price tag of approximately $3 billion.

It's part of a comprehensive solution to address safety and congestion problems on five miles of I-5 from State Route 500 in Vancouver to Victory Boulevard in Portland and will be funded through a combination of state and federal sources.