Start of Highway 14 improvements inches closer

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It seems that delays, delays and more delays have been the name of the game when it comes to the Highway 14 safety improvement project. Originally, work on the heavily used Camas-Washougal roadway was supposed to begin earlier this year, but holdups in the property acquisition process pushed the project off of its original time line several times.

During last night’s Camas City Council meeting, however, Washington State Department of Transportation representatives sounded more certain than ever that construction would begin just after the new year. And the $57 million in funding, which at times has appeared to be in jeopardy, now seems to be firmly in place.

Once it does begin, the project will take approximately two years to complete. It will include a new bridge on the east end of Lady Island, and the existing 1,037 foot west Camas Slough Bridge will be improved by replacing the existing bridge rail and adding a median barrier.

In addition, Highway 14 from Sixth Avenue to Union Street will be widened from two lanes to four lanes. The highway would then rise 20 feet above “undercrossings” at Union Street and Second Avenue, where split-diamond interchanges will be constructed.

A median barrier separating eastbound and westbound traffic on Highway 14 will run the four-mile length of the project.

This large-scale endeavor is truly one of the most important roadway construction undertakings in recent memory in the Camas-Washougal area. While the building process will be lengthy and extensive, the end result will be well worth it. It will mean an incredible increase in the safety of those who travel Highway 14, an asset to the Camas-Washougal communities that truly has no price tag.