It’s been a difficult road for businesses in the immediate area surrounding the state Route 14 safety improvement project construction work. Traffic delays, rocky gravel-filled streets, road closures, the constant flow and noise of construction vehicles, and a giant dirt berm blocking visibility between the highway and commerce are just some of the issues merchants say have led to a reduction in customers and profits.
This week, a little bit of relief may be coming their way as paving on the north roundabouts at Union and Second streets and the Second Street connection to the frontage road south of SR-14 got underway. The work will continue each evening through Thursday, from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Paving is certainly not a solution to all of the problems, but what it may do is create a more welcoming, navigable pathway for people who may have previously tried to avoid the area since traffic was first shifted to a new southern frontage road several months ago.
Without a doubt the success of local businesses, including those impacted by the construction, is important to the local economy. With customer support throughout the duration of this project, these businesses will hopefully be able to survive. And in the end, the cities of Camas and Washougal and their residents will have access to a major roadway that makes positive impacts on the community, from improving traffic flow to preparing for future economic development. Maybe the most important benefit, when the project is completed later this year or early 2013, is that the highway that previously had a reputation as being dangerous and deadly will instead be seen in a safer, more positive light.
For more information about the project and traffic impacts, visit www.wsdot.wa.gov/Projects/SR14/CamasWashougal.