Roundabouts to be built on Highway 14 in Washougal

$7.6 million project set for 2019 will be funded by gas tax hike

This view from a drone shows the intersection of state Highway 14 and 32nd Street, in Washougal. A $7.6 million project will include the addition of a roundabout at that location and Highway 14 and 15th Street, also in Washougal, in 2019. (Photo contributed by WSDOT)

Construction of two roundabouts along state Highway 14 — at 15th Street and 32nd Street — in Washougal is scheduled to begin in March of 2019 and be completed in September of 2019.

The $7.6 million project is currently in the design phase, according to Tamara Greenwell, with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

She said it is too soon to tell what the posted speed limit will be. The current speed limit at both intersections is 55 mph.

Speeds in a roundabout are typically between 15 and 20 miles per hour, according to Greenwell.

She said roundabouts promote a continuous, circular flow of traffic.

“Because traffic is constantly flowing through the intersection, drivers don’t have the incentive to speed up to try and beat the light, like they might at a traditional intersection,” Greenwell said.

From 2011 to 2016, there was a fatal crash in the future roundabouts area, when someone ran a red light at 15th Street and t-boned another vehicle. Greenwell said a roundabout would help prevent those type of collisions.

Funding for the roundabouts project is provided by an 11.9-cent gas tax increase that was fully phased in on July 1, 2016. It is part of the “Connecting Washington” program approved by state legislators and Gov. Jay Inslee in 2015.

Washougal City Engineer Rob Charles said the roundabouts construction contract will be advertised for bids in January of 2019.

Port of Camas-Washougal Executive Director David Ripp said the roundabout at 32nd Street and state Highway 14 will make it easier for vehicles to enter and exit the port’s industrial park.

“Currently, it is only a right in and right out,” he said.