SR 500 - 42nd and 54th Intersections - Safety Improvements

Project news

Needs & benefits

There are two traffic lights on SR 500, at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and at Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road. These two intersections are the last two remaining lights between I-5 and I-205 on SR 500. As traffic increases, so do the number of collisions. In the past five years, nearly 400 crashes have occurred near these two intersections. On average, that is more than one crash a week. Analysis of these crashes shows that they are the result of increasing congestion, lights and driver inattention.

In spring and summer 2018, WSDOT conducted a study to identify cost-efficient safety improvements along SR 500 between St. Johns Road and Andresen Road in Vancouver. With input from the community, agency partners, area schools, businesses and emergency services, WSDOT selected the Right In, Right Out concept to improve safety along SR 500 in Vancouver and Clark County. Emergency service providers and the public were most supportive of this concept, because it balances significant safety improvements to SR 500, while maintaining some connectivity to the highway from local streets.

This project is expected to reduce crashes by up to 70% by reducing the risk of rear-end and left-turn related crashes at or near the traffic lights.

For travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities, immediate improvements will remove the ability to cross SR 500 at Northeast 54th Avenue/ Northeast Stapleton Avenue until the grade-separated pedestrian/bicycle crossing can be designed and constructed. WSDOT recognizes that, especially for trips on foot, this closure may substantially increase how long it takes to make these trips. We are working with C-TRAN to provide a temporary, no-fare shuttle service to transport pedestrians across SR 500 while the connection is interrupted. This service will be available during primary use hours by advance reservation to those that currently rely on the crosswalk at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue. Additional details will be provided as we get closer to construction.

WSDOT plans to complete future improvements as time and funding allow. These activities include designing and constructing a new grade-separated crossing at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue and addressing secondary effects that may be associated with immediate improvements, which could include investment in city or county transportation facilities. Funding is identified in our 10-year plan, starting in the 2021-2023 biennium, but WSDOT is working with our partners to find opportunities to expedite that funding if possible.

What should travelers expect during construction? 

  • Crews will close both directions of SR 500 between St. Johns and Andresen over one weekend, from 11 p.m. on a Friday, until 4 a.m. on a Monday, to remove the traffic lights at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue, install barrier in the middle of the highway, restripe the roadway to extend merge lanes, and reconfigure both intersections to safely direct traffic on and off the highway.
  • During the closure, travelers should plan ahead and use alternate routes.
  • Daytime and nighttime lane closures may also be needed.
  • The work planned during the weekend closure is extremely weather dependent and will be rescheduled to the following weekend if rain is in the forecast.

      The end result...

      • When construction is complete, drivers will have uninterrupted traffic flow on SR 500 from I-5 to Fourth Plain Boulevard.
      • Drivers will no longer be able to turn left on to or off of SR 500, or cross the highway at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road, can instead use Northeast St. Johns Road or Northeast Andresen Road or turn right onto SR 500 and turn around in order to head in the opposite direction on SR 500.
      • Drivers will still be able to turn right off of SR 500 at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast Stapleton/Northeast 54th Avenue.  Right turns can also be made from Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast Stapleton/Northeast 54th Avenue onto SR 500.
      • Travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities will not be able to cross SR 500 at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue until a grade separated crossing can be built. WSDOT is working with partners to find opportunities to expedite funding for a crossing, and offset these effects by providing alternate choices.

      Project benefits...

      • Safety: Predicted to reduce crashes by up to 70% by removing traffic lights and the back-ups they cause.
      • Improved travel times: Expected to reduce travel delays for drivers on SR 500.

      Timeline

      • Spring/Summer 2018 – Solicited community and stakeholder input
      • Summer 2018 - Preferred project to improve safety at these locations chosen and funding to implement initial safety improvements secured
      • August 2018 – Project advertised for competitive bid
      • Sept. 4, 2018 - Project awarded to Cascade Bridge, LLC 
      • October 2018 – Construction scheduled to begin

      Funding

      Less than $1 million.

      Project Pin# 450018M

      Contact 

      Please email or call the study team at 360-905-2076 with questions or comments about these safety improvements.