SR 500 42nd Ave - 54th Ave Safety Improvements Study

SR 500 42nd Ave - 54th Ave Safety Improvements Study - map thumbnail
 

SR 500 42nd Ave intersection thumbnail

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Study Overview

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. During the study, thousands of people who live, walk, bike or drive through this area told us their top priorities for this corridor are safety, reliable travel on SR 500, and access to SR 500 from Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road.

In collaboration with local partners including the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, WSDOT selected the Right In, Right Out concept to improve safety on SR 500 in Vancouver. This concept was selected due in part to the balance it provides between significant safety improvements to SR 500 and maintaining some connectivity to SR 500 from local streets. WSDOT worked with emergency service providers to determine improvements to the Right In, Right Out concept and/or adjacent interchanges to support effective emergency response times. Emergency service providers and the public were most supportive of this concept.

WSDOT secured funding to begin initial implementation of safety improvements on State Route 500 in Vancouver. In fall 2018, crews removed the traffic signals and installed median barrier at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue. Travelers can continue to access these intersections by turning right onto or off of SR 500, but can no longer turn left or cross the highway at these intersections.

 

SR 500 42nd Ave 54th Ave - Right in / right out

 

Next steps 

People who use the sidewalks or bicycle lanes in the area will be unable to cross SR 500 at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue until a new grade-separated crossing is constructed, but can continue to use the overcrossing at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue. 

WSDOT plans to complete future improvements as time and funding allow. These activities include designing and constructing a new grade-separated pedestrian/bicycle 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.

Study Summary

  • WSDOT conducted this safety study to identify and analyze ideas that would improve safety on SR 500 between Northeast St. Johns Road and Northeast Andresen Road, while maintaining access across the highway for travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities.
  • This study was done in coordination with local partners including the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, along with significant input from the community.
  • WSDOT used the results of the study to select a preferred project and implemented the improvements in fall 2018. 
  • Travelers using sidewalks or bicycle facilities cannot cross SR 500 at Northeast Stapleton Road/Northeast 54th Avenue until a new grade-separated pedestrian/bicycle crossing can be designed and constructed. WSDOT is working with partners to find opportunities to expedite funding for a crossing, and offset these effects by providing alternate choices.
  • SR 500 Safety Study Concept Input Report (pdf 75 kb)

Existing Conditions

State Route 500 is one of the primary high-speed east-west connections between I-5 and I-205, and a gateway into east Clark County. Growth and development in the area are contributing to increased traffic backups, delays and accidents.

There were two traffic lights on SR 500, at Northeast Falk Road/Northeast 42nd Avenue and at Northeast 54th Avenue/Northeast Stapleton Road. These two intersections were the last two remaining lights between I-5 and I-205 on SR 500. As traffic grows, so do the number of collisions. In 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 response, WSDOT has worked to enhance safety by adjusting traffic light timing, coordinating the traffic lights, and installing traffic-warning signs. These efforts alone at this location do not significantly reduce crashes. Additional changes identified through this study are needed to continue to improve safety.

SR 500 - 42nd Ave - 54th Ave crash data
 

Study Area History

Previous discussions to address safety, future growth projections, congestion, and other needs on SR 500 have focused on the possibility of major infrastructure improvements, such as an overpass and interchange at Northeast 42nd Avenue and Northeast 54th Avenue. These improvements were estimated to cost $80 million. To date, no funding for these projects has been committed. These projects were not funded in the most recent legislative transportation package and there is no certainty on if or when funding could be available for such a significant investment.

With input from thousands of people and our partners at the City of Vancouver, Clark County, C-TRAN and the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council, WSDOT conducted this study to identify cost effective concepts to improve safety along SR 500 in Vancouver. The result is the Right In, Right Out concept.

Project Timeline

Fall/winter 2017

  • Data collection and analysis
  • Develop scope of work

Spring/early summer 2018

  • Stakeholder communication
  • Community engagement
  • Open house and online survey
  • Safety and data analysis
  • Finalize concepts

Summer 2018

  • Select a preferred project
  • Partial funding for implementation secured

Fall 2018

  • September 3: Contract awarded to Cascade Bridge, LLC for immediate highway safety improvements
  • November 2018 – Construction of highway safety improvements completed 

Funding

  • WSDOT provided $200,000 for this safety improvements study. 
  • WSDOT secured funding to begin initial implementation of safety improvements identified through this safety study.
  • The costs for an overcrossing and fixes for potential local system issues that may arise from initial implementation are being incorporated into future agency budgets. Funding is identified in our 10-year plan, specifically starting in the 2021-2023 biennium. WSDOT is working with our partners to find opportunities to advance that funding if possible.

Contact

Your feedback is important

Please email or call us at 360-905-2076 with questions or comments about this safety study.