Camas halts city construction projects amid COVID-19 crisis

Order stops work on Lake Road-Everett Street roundabout set to begin this week

The city of Camas has paused construction on several public projects amid the COVID-19 crisis, including the Lake Road-Everett Street traffic roundabout construction set to begin this week. 

“As you know, we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation frequently. Things change very quickly,” Camas Mayor Barry McDonnell stated in a press release. “Governor  (Jay) Inslee is continuing to call for additional protective measures across the state.”

Other city projects being held until further review on April 15 include improvements to Brady Road, construction of the 18th Avenue reservoir and Lacamas Creek pump station and improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. 

“These important projects will ultimately move forward,” McDonnell stated, “but I believe that stopping all construction in Camas at this time is the right decision for everyone’s health and safety.”

The city is working with contractors to make sure the construction sites are secure through the work stoppage. 

Before announcing the pause in construction late Wednesday, the city had sent an earlier press release Wednesday afternoon, announcing that the Lake Road-Everett Street roundabout and other now-halted city projects were considered “essential public infrastructure” and would continue on schedule. 

“The project is considered essential because, without it, the intersection, which includes both city- (Lake Road) and state-regulated (Everett Street) roadways, will soon reach failure,” the city stated in the earlier press release. “This means backups will reach a level where getting through the area will take considerable time and compromise motorist, pedestrian and bicyclist safety.” 

The city’s public works director, Steve Wall, said he was confident the difficult times related to the COVID-19 situation would get better and that, “when that happens, the Lake-Everett intersection will once again be heavily used by the community, making this a necessary 

infrastructure improvement.” 

The city has funding ready to start the construction projects whenever the mayor and other city leaders decide it is safe to do so. 

Governor Inslee ruled March 25 that commercial and residential construction projects were not deemed “essential” and should be halted under his “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order meant to slow the spread of the contagious and deadly new coronavirus that causes COVID-19, a disease that has infected more than 1 million people since being discovered in December 2019, and killed at least 51,000 people worldwide, including six deaths in Clark County.

The governor allowed a few exceptions under the construction order, including construction “to further a public purpose related to a public entity or governmental function or facility, including but not limited to publicly financed low-income housing; or to prevent spoliation and avoid damage or unsafe conditions, and address emergency repairs at both non-essential businesses around residential structures.”

“All construction activity must meet social distancing and appropriate health and worker protection measures before proceeding,” the governor said.

For more information about the city of Camas’ Lake Road-Everett Street traffic roundabout project, visit cityofcamas.us/lakeroadconstruction

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