For the past several weeks crews have been stockpiling rock and dirt along the shoulder of state Route 14 in anticipation of the onset of construction of the much anticipated Camas-Washougal widening and interchange project.
According to WSDOT Area Engineer Chris Tams, the material is being trucked in from another ongoing WSDOT Highway 14 project — $4.3 million in safety improvements being made from the Cape Horn Bridge to Cape Horn Road.
The stockpiling between Second and Sixth streets will continue for the next two to three weeks with no scheduled traffic impacts. The material will be used to create embankments for the interchange project.
The $57 million Highway 14 safety improvement project will expand the highway to four lanes from the end of the west Camas Slough Bridge to Union Street; construct a new bridge on the east end of Lady Island; build a split diamond interchange at Union Street and Second Street; construct two new frontage roads with roundabouts on the north and south sides of the highway with major on/off ramps at Union Street and Second Street; and install a median barrier on Highway 14 through the entire length of the project.
According to Tams, the project will be advertised for construction bids on March 7.
Once construction begins in early summer, it will be built in two stages. First, he said, the frontage roads and roundabouts at Union and Second will be built while traffic continues to use the highway.
In stage two, all traffic from the highway will be diverted onto the frontage roads while the highway itself is closed down, extra lanes installed and overpasses constructed.
Tam said he expects WSDOT to hold two more public open houses prior to the onset of construction, to keep the public informed as to planned road closures and other traffic impacts that will take place during the project.
The improvements are being funded with monies from the 2005 Transportation Partnership Program revenue package, which was enacted by the state legislature along with a 9.5 cent gas tax increase.
Cape Horn safety improvements
The Cape Horn project, which began in fall 2010, straightens two curves on Highway 14 near the Cape Horn viewpoint and adds turn lanes at key intersections to the east. Crews are constructing turn lanes for both directions of traffic on Highway 14 at Salmon Falls Road and a left turn lane for westbound traffic at Cape Horn Road.
In addition, two pedestrian tunnels will be constructed underneath Highway 14, one near the Cape Horn viewpoint and the other near Cape Horn Road.
The project, with a total budget of $6.53 million, is scheduled for completion in the fall.
The projects are part of a safety focus on a 15-mile stretch of Highway 14, from the Clark/Skamania county line and North Bonneville (mile posts 21.7 to 37). Designated as a traffic safety corridor in 2004, the end goal is to reduce fatal and disabling collisions on roadways with significant safety needs.