Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Keep cool and safe as summer construction heats up in Clark County

By Tamara Greenwell

As the warm summer sun shines down, construction projects are revving up in Clark County. With four large construction projects happening on Interstate 5 and I-205, as well as State Route 14 and SR 500 this summer, we all need to be prepared for some congestion or travel delays.

We know summer roadwork can be frustrating, but warm, dry weather is needed for asphalt to set and harden and roadway paint to stick to the pavement, leaving us a small window to get this work completed. We try to schedule work at night or off-peak times when possible and we appreciate your patience during the times that’s not possible. A little planning will go a long way in helping all of us reach our destinations safely and on time.
Locations of summer highway construction in Clark County

I-5 and I-205 Pavement Rehabilitation
Anyone who travels on I-5 or I-205 in Clark County is familiar with the thump-tha-thump-thump sound from the ruts and cracks in the pavement. Beginning in late July, crews will replace worn asphalt and concrete panels on both directions of I-205 between the Glenn Jackson Bridge and the I-5/I-205 split, and on southbound I-5 between SR 502 near Battle Ground and the I-5/I-205 split. To minimize disruptions, most of the work will be done at night with lane closures, as well as some overnight ramp closures on I-205.
I-5 in Clark County will see some lane closures this summer, though most will be overnight.

SR 500 between Saint John’s Boulevard and Fourth Plain Boulevard Paving and Expansion Joints
You may recall that due to a high number of crashes, this past fall we removed the traffic signals on SR 500 at the intersections of Northeast Falk Road/42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road in Vancouver. Starting in late July, crews will widen the SR 500 ramps at those same intersections as part of a project to pave the highway between Burnt Bridge Creek near St. John’s Boulevard and Fourth Plain Boulevard. Work will also include replacing the bridge expansion joints on the SR 500 overpass, over I-205, and updating sidewalk ramps to improve access

This weather-sensitive work will require weekend closures of sections of SR 500 between I-5 and Northeast Fourth Plain Boulevard, as well as some lane and ramp closures, so be sure to check travel conditions before you go, and expect delays.
The ramps near SR 500 at Northeast Falk Road/42nd Avenue in Vancouver will be widened this summer.

SR 14 between Vancouver and Camas Paving
Folks heading into the Gorge could encounter a couple of work zones as crews pave both directions of SR 14 between Southeast 164th Avenue in Vancouver and Northwest 6th Avenue in Camas. Construction is expected to take a little more than one month and the work and lane closures will occur mostly at night. The on- and off-ramps at Southeast 192nd Avenue will also close for overnight paving.

SR 14 Washougal Roundabouts
Farther east, expect delays in Washougal as work is underway to build roundabouts on SR 14 at the intersections of Washougal River Road/15th Street and 32nd Street. We’ll try to minimize travel delays as much as possible, but there will be several closures and delays during construction. When complete, travelers will encounter fewer travel backups and delays through the area.
A roundabout is being built at SR 14 at 32nd Street in Washougal.

Work on all of these projects is weather dependent and scheduled to wrap up before the end of the year.

While you’re traveling this summer, we hope you keep this mangled mess of metal that was once one of our work trucks in mind. It’s a powerful reminder of the dangers our crews face every day when working along area roadways, and why we need everyone’s help in work zones. A semi struck the three-quarter-ton pickup truck and it crushed like a soda can. Thankfully, the driver of the pickup had exited it less than a minute before the crash and none of the crew was injured.
This crushed work truck is a good reminder to be cautious, alert and slow down in work zones.

Work zone crashes aren’t just dangerous for workers. Travelers are also at risk during crashes or other incidents. Last year, 94 percent of Washington roadway work zone fatalities and injuries were to drivers, their passengers or pedestrians. Many of these crashes are preventable, as the number one reason for crashes in work zones is distracted drivers, followed by impairment and speeding.

Whenever you’re in a work zone please slow down to the posted speed and pay attention to signs, workers and other travelers around you. If you can, move over a lane to give workers more space. It’s also good to allow extra time if traveling through a construction zone. If you do face delays, remember to stay calm – it’s not worth risking someone’s life.

Traveler tips
While we can’t promise a congestion-free trip, we provide lots of information to help you make informed choices about getting around during construction. You can sign up for Clark County construction email alerts  and you can get 24/7 travel information via the WSDOT mobile app and Twitter account.

Be sure to check with the City of Vancouver and Clark County for updates on other area road projects. As you head out to enjoy our long summer days and cool nights, please watch for signs, flaggers and pilot cars to guide you through construction zones, and drive carefully! Getting through construction can take a little more time than we're used to, but once the work is complete, it's easy to enjoy the long-term benefits of a smooth ride.


Unknown said...

I noticed a new 40mph sign at the Welcome To Washougal sign a couple of weeks ago. Is this a permanent speed sign? Or just during construction? I'm thinking permanent due to the round about going in.

The reason I ask is I'm making other drivers behind me mad. 😡 Either they didn't see the sign, or just don't care. I now get off at Washougal River Road instead of 32nd Street just to get out of their way.

Thank you for all your hard work. Stay safe.
Diane Marshall

WSDOT said...

Hello Diane,

Thank you for reaching out, and our apologies for the frustration. This is a temporary speed reduction during the construction of the new roundabouts. When the roundabouts are in place permanently, traffic will need to slow down as they approach the roundabouts, but the posted speed will be 55mph.

In early July, traffic will be shifted to a temporary roundabout at the intersection with 32nd St to allow work to continue on the construction of the permanent roundabout. You can find more information on our SR 14- Access Improvements project page.

Thank you again, and stay safe!

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