Legislation passed late Wednesday by the Senate will lay additional groundwork to replace the outdated I-5 Bridge, Sen. Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) said.

“The path to the new bridge demands patience and many steps, and this is one of those steps,” Cleveland said. “Each step moves us forward, and together these small steps will deliver the bridge and the major benefits it will bring our community and our regional economy.”

HB 1994 designates a new I-5 bridge as a project of statewide significance and requires the state Department of Transportation to assign a coordinator and identify a team that will coordinate efforts to facilitate its design and completion.

In related news, the Senate last week passed a transportation budget that includes $8.5 million toward the operation of an I-5 bridge joint office between Washington and Oregon. The office enables the two states to restart the process of designing and building a new bridge.

“I am gratified by this additional progress and will continue to tirelessly push forward toward successful replacement of the antiquated I-5 bridge,” Cleveland said. “This project is not only critical for our community, it is crucial to our state and region.”