More roundabouts coming to Washougal

They will eliminate traffic lights on Highway 14 at 15th, 32nd streets

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This is the view that eastbound drivers will see at State Route 14 (SR-14) and 15th Street (Washougal River Road) in Washougal -- with Pendleton Woolen Mills and downtown Washougal on the left, and Steamboat Landing Park on the right -- after a roundabout is constructed in 2019. A roundabout will also be built at SR-14 and 32nd Street, in Washougal. (Contributed rendering provided courtesy of PBS Engineering and Environmental Inc.)

Two future roundabouts on state Route 14 (SR-14), in Washougal, will eliminate the need for traffic lights, at 15th and 32nd streets, starting in 2019.

Laura Peterson, a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) engineer, recently told Washougal City Council members that WSDOT intends to advertise a request for construction bids of both roundabouts in February.

The goal is to start construction of the SR-14 and 32nd Street roundabout in May 2019, followed by the SR-14 and 15th Street (Washougal River Road) roundabout, and be completed by November 2019.

Washougal City Engineer Rob Charles said traffic may be diverted to other local roads during certain stages of construction of the 32nd Street roundabout.

The estimated total cost of both roundabouts, $6 million, will be paid for with state gas tax money. “Connecting Washington” is a 16-year program, funded primarily by an 11.9-cent gas tax increase that was fully phased-in on July 1, 2016.

The speed limit for vehicles entering both roundabouts will be 25 mph.

The roundabout at SR-14 and 15th will provide an opportunity to welcome visitors to Washougal. A design committee decided to have the Chinookan word for welcome, “Klayhowa,” written on a post in the roundabout near downtown Washougal.

Alex Yost, a Washougal City Councilwoman and co-owner of OurBar, a cafe in downtown Washougal, said the hope is that people would visit local businesses and ask what the Native American word means.

In addition to Yost, the design committee included Chuck Carpenter, Janice Killion, Roland Snyder, Wes Hickey and Will Noonan.

Charles said the roundabout at SR-14 and 15th Street is intended to be an entry feature for Washougal. It will include the city’s name featured prominently for eastbound drivers– with Pendleton Woolen Mills and downtown Washougal on the left, and Steamboat Landing Park on the right. There will also be drought tolerant landscaping, as well as art in the shape of fish and blue heron.

WSDOT will pay the estimated $100,000 for landscaping and improvements, while $25,000 in Washougal transportation capital funds will cover the cost of the art in the roundabout.