The purpose of the I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project is to improve safety and congestion where three major interstates converge and to reconnect the Albina neighborhood through the construction of a highway cover over a portion of I-5. Project benefits include improving safety and mobility on local streets, creating new space for community development, and developing a diverse and skilled workforce.

This 1.8-mile stretch of highway is the only two-lane section of I-5 in a major urban area between Canada and Mexico. It has the highest crash rate on any urban interstate in Oregon and is the state's top traffic bottleneck. The project addresses the critical need to keep Oregon's people and economy moving.


The I-5 Rose Quarter Improvement Project is part of ODOT’s Urban Mobility Strategy, which also includes the I-205 Abernethy Bridge Project, the OR 217 Auxiliary Lanes and Hall Blvd Bike/Ped Crossing Project, the Interstate Bridge Replacement Program, and the I-5 Boone Bridge Replacement Project.

The Urban Mobility Strategy is a cohesive approach to reduce congestion, improve safety and modernize the Portland region’s transportation system. Learn more here.


To make travel safer and more predictable on I-5 and throughout the Rose Quarter area, the project will make the following improvements:

  1. Highway Cover

    A new highway cover over I-5 that will reconnect local streets and create new community spaces on top for future development and economic opportunities.

  2. Hancock Crossing

    A new east-west roadway crossing over I-5 that will reconnect Hancock Street across the highway, adding another crossing north of Broadway/Weidler.

  3. Multimodal Local Street Improvements

    A variety of street improvements for people walking, biking and rolling.

  4. Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge

    A car-free bridge that will create a new path over I-5 to connect with the walking and biking network. This project element was reincorporated into the project based on comments related to pedestrian safety received during the 2022 Supplemental Environmental Assessment public comment period.

  5. Auxiliary Lanes and Shoulders

    Ramp-to-ramp connections on I-5 between I-84 and I-405, paired with wider shoulders, that will improve safety and reduce congestion at the state’s top bottleneck. An estimated one-third of traffic will be able to stay on these ramp-to-ramp connections to travel between interstates instead of merging and causing congestion and safety issues.

  6. I-5 Southbound Off-Ramp Relocation

    Relocation of the I-5 southbound off-ramp from Vancouver/Broadway to the south, connecting with NE Williams Avenue and NE Weidler Street.

Please note this graphic is conceptual, and the project design and cover shape may change as design progresses.

Highway Cover

What is a highway cover?

A highway cover is a structure built over a highway, similar to a very wide bridge. By replacing existing bridges with one continuous highway cover, new land space will be available for community development. In addition, the new cover will include seismic upgrades, making the structure over I-5 more resilient in the event of an earthquake.

Proposed Hybrid 3 Cover Concept

An Independent Cover Assessment in 2020 through 2021 evaluated multiple designs for the proposed highway cover. The Proposed Hybrid 3 Cover Concept received the strongest community support because it was viewed as the most effective in supporting the community's vision for a revitalized Albina neighborhood. The highway cover will connect streets that are currently divided by I-5 and add new land, allowing wider sidewalks and new spaces for community activities. Once built, the highway cover will be able to support buildings up to three or six stories, depending on the final design. It will also provide critical transportation access for community members and first responders. The Historic Albina Advisory Board, Albina Vision Trust, the City of Portland, TriMet, Metro and Multnomah County have all endorsed this highway cover design concept.

Please note that this graphic is for illustrative purposes only and does not represent a final design; the highway cover development process will be led by the City of Portland, in partnership with ODOT, with strong community involvement.

Illustrated concept for highway cover

Hancock Crossing

The Proposed Hybrid 3 Cover Concept will reconnect Hancock Street across I-5. Currently, there are few east-west connections over I-5 in the area. The community recommended the Hancock Crossing as an additional east-west connection for accessing current and future destinations in Lower Albina.

This new crossing will include space for people walking, biking and rolling, creating a safe and more connected option in the Albina neighborhood. It is aligned with the Central City 2035 Plan to develop and implement strategies to lessen the impact of freeways and other transportation systems on neighborhoods.

Multimodal Local Street Improvements

Local street improvements will make streets safer by offering greater visibility, protection and access to people walking, biking and rolling through the Rose Quarter area. Upgrades to sidewalks will include curb ramps that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and additional street lighting. New protected bike lanes will add enough space for cyclists to move along the city's busiest bikeway. The goal of these improvements is to address Vision Zero safety priorities and ensure the community is more accessible.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge

The project includes the addition of a pedestrian and bicycle-only bridge over I-5 near the Moda Center that will enhance safety by reducing conflicts between cars and trucks and people walking, biking or rolling in the area. This project element was reincorporated into the project based on comments related to pedestrian safety received during the 2022 Supplemental Environmental Assessment public comment period.

Auxiliary Lanes and Shoulders

Three interstates (I-5, I-84 and I-405) converge in the short distance between the Morrison and Fremont bridges. The closely spaced interchanges and narrow shoulders create the worst traffic bottleneck in the state of Oregon and the 28th worst freight bottleneck in the nation. This stretch of I-5 also has the highest crash rate of any Oregon urban interstate.

Ramp-to-ramp connections (auxiliary lanes) reduce vehicle weaving by creating safer merging opportunities and improved connections between interchanges. A recent ODOT study found that auxiliary lanes are an effective way to improve safety and reduce bottleneck congestion.

In the Portland metro area, ODOT has completed or is planning to complete auxiliary lane projects on I-5 and I-205. For example, a new auxiliary lane addressed the I-5 southbound bottleneck from OR 217 to I-205, improving traffic flow. At the section of highway where the auxiliary lane was added, congestion was reduced from five hours a day to one hour a day, saving drivers an estimated $8.4 million of delay each year.

With a new auxiliary lane in each direction on I-5 from I-84 to I-405, drivers will experience a safer, more reliable experience and less potential for crashes. Adding full shoulders will provide space for vehicles to move safely off the road and allow emergency vehicles safer and quicker access to an emergency.

I-5 Southbound Off-Ramp Relocation

The project will relocate the I-5 southbound off-ramp from Vancouver/Broadway to the south, connecting with NE Williams Avenue and NE Weidler Street.

In response to public comments made during the project’s Supplemental Environmental Assessment, a new design (dubbed the "Flyover") will reroute two-thirds of the I-5 off-ramp traffic to the east of I-5. This design makes walking, biking and rolling safer; reduces car and transit delays; supports redevelopment opportunities for the Albina community; and maintains similar Moda Center event access. See the Flyover Design Fact Sheet for more information.