Local Information

Congestion management in store for travelers on southbound I-5 in Vancouver

Wednesday, September 2, 2020 - 14:02

Celeste Dimichina, communications, 360-905-2057

New ramp meters on southbound I-5 in Vancouver go live, Thursday, Sept. 3 

VANCOUVER – New high-tech travel tools on Interstate 5 will debut this week to help improve trip reliability through Vancouver for years to come.

Beginning on Thursday, Sept. 3, new ramp meters at Northeast 78th Street, Main Street, State Route 500/39th Street, Fourth Plain Boulevard, Mill Plain Boulevard and at SR 14/Washington Street in downtown will activate in response to real-time conditions to help reduce traffic backups and delays along the corridor.

“During peak travel times this stretch of highway sees consistent congestion and a significant number of crashes,” said Mike Briggs, WSDOT engineer. “The solution is not always adding more lanes or infrastructure at a high cost, but rather enhancing what we have in a smarter, safer and more efficient way. Installing ramp meters and smart technology tools is a cost-effective strategy that helps reduce congestion and improves safety.”

The meters will activate automatically before traffic begins to stack up, which helps to keep speeds reliable and manage congestion on the interstate. After installation, WSDOT tested the system in late August. 

Several southbound I-5 ramps are now restriped with new signs that advise drivers to use the shoulders when meters are active to help reduce potential backups on to city streets. These locations include:

  • Fourth Plain Boulevard
  • Mill Plain Boulevard
  • SR 14/Washington Street

This summer, contractor crews also installed new smart technology upgrades along the corridor that include new overhead electronic message signs, cameras and pavement sensors to monitor traffic flow and weather to provide real-time information that help keep drivers better informed and traffic moving. These tools will go live beginning Tuesday, Sept. 8. Installation of these was done in advance of the full closure of the northbound Interstate Bridge span, Sept. 9-20, for the Trunnion Replacement project. 

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