Pete Buttigieg touts Washougal intersection project

U.S. Transportation Secretary: 'It’s going to reduce crashes ... allow first responders to get to where they need to be more quickly'

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg (right) talks with Rep. Marie Glusenkamp-Perez about the city of Washougal's 32nd street underpass project on Friday, July 7, in Washougal. (Contributed photo courtesy of the city of Washougal)

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg visited Washougal Friday, July 7, to tout the city of Washougal’s 32nd Street underpass project, which he said will reconnect the community, improve safety, help freight move more efficiently and ensure first responders can get to those in need.

Washington’s two Democratic senators, U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, announced May 31, that the city of Washougal will receive a $40.5 million federal grant to fund the design and construction of the project.

“This underpass will have dedicated, separated lanes for biking, driving and walking,” Buttigieg said July 7, during a press conference at the Port of Camas-Washougal, near the project site. “It’s going to make the possibility of a collision with a vehicle or pedestrians cut down to zero. It’s going to reduce crashes all along 32nd Street, and will mean people across eastern Clark County get that time back in their day with less congestion on the road. And crucially, it’s going to allow first responders to get to where they need to be more quickly. It means residents in the Addy neighborhood can have better access to groceries, schools, services, nature, everywhere they need. And we think it’s going to contribute to a lot of economic development around this vitally important port and the town center.”

The $50 million project will reconnect Washougal’s Addy Street neighborhood with downtown Washougal and Port areas by reconstructing five intersections along 32nd Street. It will feature a new railroad bridge and underpass structure between Main Street/“B” Street and Evergreen Way along the crossing, as well as new roundabouts, intersection improvements, and improved pedestrian and bike facilities, according to the City.

The federal grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Railroad Crossing Elimination (RCE) Grant Program, which Cantwell authored and guided through the U.S. Congress as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that President Joe Biden signed into law Nov. 15, 2021.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg speaks during a press conference in Washougal on Friday, July 7, 2023. Photo