• Project

SR 500 - NE 42nd and 54th Intersection Improvements

Project overview

In 2023, WSDOT is scheduled to restore the north/south connection across State Route 500 at the Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue intersection in Vancouver for those most affected by the 2018 removal of the traffic lights at this location – pedestrians and bicyclists of all ages and abilities, by constructing a new overcrossing that meets the Americans with Disabilities Act. Returning access across the highway for people who may have no other way to travel, other than on foot or wheels, is the next step towards improved safety and accessibility for all travelers along this stretch of highway.

In 2021, we started work to design this new pedestrian/bicyclist overcrossing and heard from people who walk, bike and roll in the area that their highest priorities for the new bridge were safety, future maintenance, cost, bicycle maneuverability, right‐of‐way, constructability and corridor continuity. We incorporated those priorities into the final bridge design.

People also shared ideas of constructing the bridge using concrete, timber, and steel. While these are all good options, due to cost, future maintenance needs, and visual continuity, the structure will be constructed of concrete similar to the nearby pedestrian overcrossing at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue.

Some community members asked why a vehicular overpass or an interchange, which had been discussed at this intersection many years ago, will not be built instead of a pedestrian crossing.

The vehicle transportation network via St John’s Boulevard and Northeast Andresen Road can accommodate vehicle travel across SR 500 for this area without requiring an additional north-south connection at Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road. In relation to other priorities in the state at this time, the need to build a full interchange or vehicular overpass at this location does not rank high enough to receive funding. The need for pedestrian and bicyclist access, however, is a priority due to the substantial impact to out-of-direction travel without a crossing of SR 500 at this location. In addition, the physical separation between pedestrians and high-speed vehicles on SR 500 creates a much safer and more comfortable environment for our roadway’s most vulnerable users. A pedestrian overcrossing is the most safe and cost-effective solution to meet the needs of people walking and biking in this area.

As stewards of the taxpayer, WSDOT has a responsibility to plan, design, build, operate, and maintain a cost-efficient system that works safely and conveniently for all the people we serve, ensuring efficient and equitable transportation options to all. The project accomplishes the safety and mobility issues without the need for constructing a full interchange, which is a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and also less disruptive to neighborhoods adjacent to the projects area.

We also heard concerns from some community members that restoring pedestrian/bicycle access could result in increased crime on the north side of the highway once the overcrossing is constructed. To verify these claims, we connected with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Crime Analyst who pulled crime data from the Sheriff’s Department and the Vancouver Police Department to determine whether crime went up, down, or stayed about the same before and after the removal of the traffic lights at the intersection. The Crime Analyst found that this concern was unfounded as the number of reported crimes in the immediate area have remained unchanged from year to year before and after the crossing was eliminated at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue.

Timeline
Spring 2021 - Summer 2023
Project status
Not started
Funding
$5 Million

What to expect

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2023. Once construction work starts, crews will construct the walls, ramps, and bridge, remove existing concrete traffic islands where previous traffic signals were located, and install LED highway lighting.

During construction, travelers may encounter single lane closures while the bridge abutment walls are constructed. A brief nighttime closure of the highway may be needed to install bridge girders. 

The new structure will incorporate straight ramps with a gradual incline and wide turning radius so people riding bicycles, using wheelchairs or other mobility devices can easily climb the grade and make the turns easily while traveling along the structure. The bridge will also include a landing midway along each ramp on both sides of the structure to provide a resting spot, providing users of all ages and abilities safe access across the highway. Travelers will access the bridge via new bi-directional bicycle lanes and along the existing sidewalks from Northeast 54th Avenue and Northeast Stapleton Road.