SR 500 42nd Ave - 54th Ave Safety Improvements Study

SR 500 42nd Ave - 54th Ave Safety Improvements Study - map thumbnail
 

SR 500 42nd Ave intersection thumbnail

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Study News

  • Following a weekend-long closure, SR 500 reopened on Sunday, Nov. 11, with new safety improvements in place.
  • Travelers should pay close attention to the new roadway conditions and use patience as people find new routes.
  • Subscribe to receive email updates with current information about this safety study.

Study Overview

In spring and summer 2018, WSDOT conducted a study to identify cost-efficient safety improvements along SR 500 between St. Johns Road and Andresen Road in Vancouver. During the study, thousands of people who live, walk, bike or drive through this area told us their top priorities for this corridor are safety, reliable travel on SR 500, and access to SR 500 from Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road.

In collaboration with local partners including the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, WSDOT has selected the Right In, Right Out concept to improve safety on SR 500 in Vancouver. This concept was selected due in part to the balance it provides between significant safety improvements to SR 500 and maintaining some connectivity to SR 500 from local streets.

SR 500 42nd Ave 54th Ave - Right in / right out

WSDOT has worked with emergency service providers to determine improvements to the Right In, Right Out concept and/or adjacent interchanges to support effective emergency response times. Emergency service providers and the public were most supportive of this concept.

Next steps 

Now that a cost-effective project has been identified, WSDOT has secured funding to begin initial implementation of safety improvements. Removing the traffic lights on SR 500 at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road, installing a barrier in the middle of the highway, extending merging lanes, and reconfiguring both intersections to safely direct traffic onto and off of the highway are relatively low cost, easily implementable safety solutions. These changes are predicted to reduce the number of collisions at or near the intersections by up to 70 percent, as well as to improve travel times on SR 500. With that in mind, WSDOT is working internally and with our partners to implement the Right In, Right Out design as early as this fall.

For travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities, immediate improvements will remove the ability to cross SR 500 at NE 54th Ave/ NE Stapleton Ave until the grade-separated crossing can be designed and constructed. WSDOT recognizes that, especially for trips on foot, this closure may substantially increase how long it takes to make these trips for some travelers. We are working to share information with potentially affected groups and individuals and are exploring options with local service providers to mitigate these effects.

WSDOT plans to complete future improvements as time and funding allow. These activities include designing and constructing a new grade-separated crossing at NE Stapleton Rd./NE 54th Ave and addressing secondary effects that may be associated with immediate improvements, which could include investment in city or county transportation facilities. Funding is identified in our 10-year plan, specifically starting in the 2021 -2023 biennium. WSDOT is working with our partners to find opportunities to advance that funding if possible.

Study Summary

  • WSDOT conducted this safety study to identify and analyze ideas that would improve safety on SR 500 between Northeast St. Johns Road and Northeast Andresen Road, while maintaining access across the highway for travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities.
  • This study was done in coordination with local partners including the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, along with significant input from the community.
  • WSDOT used the results of the study to select a preferred project and is now seeking funding for complete implementation.
  • SR 500 Safety Study Concept Input Report (pdf 75 kb)

Existing Conditions

State Route 500 is one of the primary high-speed east-west connections between I-5 and I-205, and a gateway into east Clark County. Growth and development in the area are contributing to increased traffic backups, delays and accidents.

There are two traffic lights on SR 500, at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and at Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road. These two intersections are the last two remaining lights between I-5 and I-205 on SR 500. As traffic grows, so do the number of collisions. In the past five years, nearly 400 crashes have occurred near these two intersections. On average, that is more than one crash a week. Analysis of these crashes shows that they are the result of increasing congestion, lights and driver inattention.

In response, we have worked to enhance safety by adjusting traffic light timing, coordinating the traffic lights, and installing traffic-warning signs. These efforts alone at this location do not significantly reduce crashes. Additional changes identified through this study are needed to continue to improve safety.

SR 500 - 42nd Ave - 54th Ave crash data
 

Study Area History

Previous discussions to address safety, future growth projections, congestion, and other needs on SR 500 have focused on the possibility of major infrastructure improvements, such as an overpass and interchange at Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue. These improvements were estimated to cost $80 million. To date, no funding for these projects has been committed. These projects were not funded in the most recent legislative transportation package and there is no certainty on if or when funding could be available for such a significant investment.

With input from thousands of people and our partners at the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, WSDOT conducted this study to identify cost effective concepts to improve safety along SR 500 in Vancouver. The result is the Right In, Right Out concept.

Project Timeline

Fall/winter 2017

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Develop scope of work

Spring/early summer 2018

  • Stakeholder communication
  • Community engagement
  • Open house and online survey
  • Safety and data analysis
  • Finalize concepts

Summer 2018

  • Select a preferred project
  • Partial funding for implementation secured

Fall 2018

  • September 3: Contract awarded to Cascade Bridge, LLC for immediate highway safety improvements
  • October/November: Construction scheduled to begin 

Funding

WSDOT provided $200,000 for this safety improvements study. WSDOT is currently seeking funding to implement the Right In, Right Out design concept.

WSDOT has secured funding to begin initial implementation of safety improvements identified through this safety study.

The costs for a crossing and fixes for potential local system issues that may arise from initial implementation are being incorporated into future agency budgets. Funding is identified in our 10-year plan, specifically starting in the 2021 -2023 biennium. WSDOT is working with our partners to find opportunities to advance that funding if possible.

Contact

Your feedback is important

Please email or call us at 360-905-2076 with questions or comments about this safety study.