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Thursday, March 01, 2012
Chris Tams, WSDOT project engineer, 360-759-1310 (Vancouver)
Abbi Russell, WSDOT communications, 360-905-2058 (Vancouver)
CAMAS – Drivers on State Route 14 in Camas and Washougal will see some big changes in their trips next week when crews start the second half of a $49 million project to help improve safety and traffic flow between Vancouver, east Clark County and the Columbia River Gorge.
At 8 p.m. on Friday, March 9, all traffic on SR 14 will shift to a new southern frontage road that runs parallel to the highway. This means that drivers will find themselves traveling 25 mph through two roundabouts at Union and Second streets for nearly 10 months.
“The frontage road speed limit is lower than the speed limit on SR 14, so drivers will move more slowly than they’ve been used to,” said project engineer Chris Tams. “But the good news is that they keep moving. If traffic stayed on SR 14, drivers would spend a year dealing with closures, delays and detours it would take to construct this half of the project.”
Drivers should give themselves some extra time to get through the work zone once the traffic shift begins, especially during the morning and afternoon commutes. Initial delays could be as long as 20 minutes while drivers get used to the traffic shift.
In coming months, drivers will also encounter periodic weekend closures of Union and Second streets while crews excavate the existing streets across SR 14. Excavation is the first step in raising SR 14 by 25 feet and building two new half-interchanges at these busy cross streets.
The first closure of Union Street starts at 8 p.m. Friday, March 9. Crews expect to reopen the street to traffic by 6 a.m. Monday, March 12.
Crews will stagger the closures of Union and Second streets so that, with the temporary signal at Sixth Street, drivers will always have two ways to cross SR 14.
The SR 14, Camas-Washougal Widening and Interchange project widens SR 14 and eliminates two of the three remaining traffic signals between I-5 and Bingen. Construction began in June 2011, and the project is on schedule for completion in late 2012 or early 2013.
Stay up to date on construction progress and traffic impacts by visiting the project website. Drivers can also sign up online to receive project e-mail updates.
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