A tragic reminder that SR-14 improvements are needed

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Yesterday’s deadly and tragic accident on Highway 14 in Camas is an incredibly unfortunate, but powerful reminder of how dangerous this stretch of heavily traveled roadway has the potential to be.

At 4:38 p.m., at least eight lives were changed forever when the tire of a cement truck failed and caused the vehicle to veer into oncoming traffic in the westbound lane. It struck the side of one passenger vehicle, then crashed head on into the 1994 Toyota Corolla driven by 18-year-old Kali Oberg of Vancouver. It went on to crash into the side of another vehicle and come to rest on the north shoulder of the road.

Oberg died at the scene, while one of her passengers suffered multiple broken bones and the other had injuries to his hand and collar bone. All told, four people were transported to the hospital after the incident and the highway was closed for nearly five hours.

Ironically, work is currently being done on Highway 14 as part of a $52 million safety improvement project that when complete has the potential to prevent this kind of accident. Not only will the road be widened from the West Camas Slough Bridge to Sixth Street in Washougal, and interchanges put into place, but a median barrier separating eastbound and westbound traffic will be installed from Northwest Sixth Avenue in Camas to Sixth Street in Washougal.

If there was any question before, there is little doubt now that these safety improvements that are in the process of being made on Highway 14 in Camas and Washougal are desperately needed.

The two years it will take for the project to finally be complete will certainly not come soon enough.