Retired architect William Badrick has a big idea to improve public green roofs. Not content to limit himself to buildings, he has his eyes set on the new Columbia River Crossing bridge being built between Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington. Badrick’s plan is to cover the bridge with a lush green canopy that will mitigate its carbon footprint, attract eco-tourists and provide a public park for residents.

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Badrick lives in Portland proper and dabbles in “green art design”. His latest idea is more than just an art piece however — it’s a well thought-out public service project that could prove to be a great addition to Portland’s very green reputation. Conventional bridges require expensive rainwater treatment facilities — especially in the inclement climate of the Northwest — and his green roof would eliminate that initial investment and further operations costs. He’s played the number game and figured out that the project would save the city of Portland $166,500 by collecting the roughly 13,875,000 cubic feet of water that the new 370,000 square foot roof would capture each year.

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The new great green bridge would still have transportation lanes beneath the green cover and light rail transportation as well as throughways for pedestrians and bicycles — good thing, because biking in Portland is a must for many residents. He imagines the roof to be a curved cap that will make the bridge more aerodynamic and actually reduce structural costs due to better wind performance. Badrick believes that this bridge could be Portland and Vancouver’s “golden gate bridge”. By bringing together the region’s love for the outdoors with a unique understanding of building in the 21st century, the bridge would be a focal point for residents and a mecca for green enthusiasts. With the city of Portland’s forward thinking, this idea might not be so far outside of the realm of possibility. No word on whether it will be built yet, but for now we’re rooting for Badrick’s forward thinking!

+ Read more about Badrick’s Golden Gate Bridge