Drivers on state Route 14 in Camas and Washougal will see some major changes in their trips next week when crews start the second half of a $49 million construction project that when complete will improve safety and traffic flow between Vancouver, east Clark County and the Columbia River Gorge.
At 8 p.m. on Friday, all traffic on state Route 14 will shift to a new southern frontage road that runs parallel to the highway. Drivers will travel 25 mph through two roundabouts at Union and Second streets for nearly 10 months.
“The frontage road speed limit is lower than the speed limit on SR-14, so drivers will move more slowly than they’ve been used to,” said Washington State Department of Transportation Project Engineer Chris Tams. “But the good news is that they keep moving. If traffic stayed on SR-14, drivers would spend a year dealing with closures, delays and detours it would take to construct this half of the project.”
WSDOT officials recommend allowing extra time to get through the work zone once the traffic shift begins, especially during the morning and afternoon commutes. Initial delays could be as long as 20 minutes while drivers get used to changes.
According to WSDOT research of traffic patterns at roundabouts, even with the reduced speed limit, traffic flow will be similar to when drivers had to stop and wait for the signal lights at Union and Second.