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Washougal sets 2019 legislative priorities

Highway access, Slough Bridge are on city’s agenda

Several transportation projects loom large in the city of Washougal’s legislative agenda for 2019.

Washougal City Manager David Scott and other city leaders plan to advocate for and request that $35 million in funding be restored for the widening of the state Route 14 (SR-14) Camas Slough Bridge.

Scott said the widening of the bridge from two to four lanes was deferred seven or eight years ago because of cost issues. At that time, the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) project included widening SR-14 to four lanes starting west of the West Camas Slough Bridge; constructed overpasses at Union and Second streets with two sets of frontage road roundabouts and tapered back to two lanes as drivers get into Washougal. This is referred to as SR-14 Access Improvements Phase 1.

SR-14 narrows to two lanes for the Camas Slough Bridge, before widening to four lanes again on either side of the bridge.

Scott said the widening of the bridge to four lanes is a needed improvement that relates back to the first phase. The state legislature provided funding for widening the Camas Slough Bridge as part of the 2015 “Connecting Washington” Transportation Package, but some cities, including Camas and Washougal, requested that the funding for the slough bridge widening be shifted to a highway widening project on SR-14 between I-205 and Southeast 164th Avenue. That project is in design.

Washougal leaders plan to advocate and request $68.8 million for SR-14 Access Improvements Phase 2, as well as Town Center Connectors and a railroad grade separation project.

The phase 2 of access improvements would widen SR-14 from where Phase 1 left off, to the eastern edge of Washougal and make improvements to the intersections of SR-14 and 15th (Washougal River Road), 27th and 32nd streets. Improvements north and south of the state route on 27th are also included.

Scott said a second grade separated crossing over the railroad tracks in the vicinity of 27th and 32nd streets has been a long-standing goal of the community.

The city has received federal funding to study all options for the crossing.

“The study is not complete, but the preliminary preferred alternative that has achieved broad consensus is an underpass under the railroad at 32nd,” Scott said.

The preliminary estimate for an underpass is $35 million.

“Funding for this underpass is uncertain and it could be many years before we can get this underpass funded, but we are working on getting preliminary design done so we are positioned for funding requests,” Scott said.

The financial request to the legislature for Town Center Connectors, an estimated $6 million, would involve connecting “A” Street to Addy Street from 20th to 27th streets. The connectors would also include a new North-South connection between the A to Addy street connector and Main Street in the vicinity of 21st or 22nd Street.

The 2019 state legislative session is scheduled to begin Jan. 14, in Olympia.