Thursday, July 6, 2017

Your summer survival guide to highway construction in Clark County

by Tamara Greenwell

You know the drill! Summer and road construction go hand in hand here in the Pacific Northwest and that’s definitely true in Clark County. Our larger paving jobs are done during the summer months because we need hot, dry weather to get a roadway surface built to last. There are going to be times when getting where you want to go will be a bit of a challenge, but a little planning can go a long way in helping you get around.
Locations of summer highway construction in Clark County
Beginning in mid-July, we’ll start work on three highway resurfacing projects to repair damaged pavement. Doing the work now keeps our highway system running smoothly, reducing the need for costly emergency repairs and unexpected highway closures in the future.
Damaged pavement on southbound I-5 near Kalama on Friday, Feb. 17
Remember the eight-mile backup on southbound Interstate 5 near Kalama earlier this year? Two lanes of the highway were closed while crews made emergency repairs after the pavement separated from the road following an unusually cold, wet winter. Well, our work this summer will help reduce the chances of similar situations happening in the future.

Bridge resurfacing on southbound I-5 near Woodland and Kalama
This summer, the stretch of southbound I-5 near Kalama where the emergency work took place and the southbound I-5 North Fork Lewis River Bridge near Woodland are getting facelifts. Crews will resurface the bridge decks, replace expansion joints, install new waterproof membranes (adding protection to the infrastructure of the road) and apply new pavement markings.
  • During construction, scheduled to begin on Monday, July 24, you’ll encounter daytime single-lane closures and overnight double-lane closures through the work zones. 
  • For everyone’s safety, the speed limit will be reduced to 60 mph in the area until the work is completed this fall. Please be sure to slow down and give crews room to work.
Paving Padden Parkway 
Heavy traffic and harsh weather have created cracks, ruts and potholes on Padden Parkway between 117th Avenue and NE 162nd Avenue, and along NE 162nd Avenue to NE Fourth Plain Boulevard north of Vancouver. This area hasn’t been paved since it was built in 2000 so we’re reviving the road this summer. More than 30,000 vehicles use this stretch of highway every day, so we work to keep disruptions to a minimum.
  • Daytime and overnight lane closures on both directions of the highway will be in place for resurfacing work starting in mid-July through the fall. 
  • Beginning at 8 p.m. on a Friday through 5 a.m. on a Monday, crews will close all lanes of either westbound or eastbound Padden Parkway between 117th Avenue and 162nd Avenue. The following weekend they’ll close all of the lanes in the opposite direction. Since the work is weather dependent, the weekend closures will be scheduled later this summer.
  • Sign up for email notifications and we’ll send you updates with the dates and times.   
  • As a safety precaution, the pedestrian path on the south side of Padden Parkway will also close.
We’re coordinating with Clark County Public Works, which will close both directions of Padden Parkway for paving work between Northeast Andresen Road west to Northeast 78th Street. The work is currently scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday, July 7, until 5 a.m. Monday, July 10. If the work has to be rescheduled due to rain or cool temperatures, the closure would occur the following weekend, beginning at 8 p.m. Friday, July 14, until 5 a.m. Monday, July 17.

Resurfacing SR 501 between 26th Street to the end of the highway

Sections of SR 501 – also known as NW Lower River Road – in Vancouver are cracked and rutted. Beginning on Friday, July 14, crews will resurface the road by applying a hot layer of rocks and asphalt on top of the roadway surface, which protects the roadbed from things like water and ice.
  • If you drive or bike this stretch of roadway, you’ll alternate through a single lane of the highway daily during daytime hours. 
  • There will be loose gravel on the roadway. As with any highway construction project, use caution in the work zone.
  • The speed limit through the area will be temporarily reduced from 55 mph to 35 mph.
Traveler tips
  • Sign up to receive email updates about all of these projects. 
  • Check your route before heading out the door on our mobile app or our construction web page.
  • Research if there are other routes you might take to avoid construction. 
  • If you decide to travel on roads and highways under construction, give yourself extra time. 
Work on these projects is weather dependent and can be delayed due to rain. Be sure to check with the City of Vancouver and Clark County for updates on other Clark County area road construction. While getting through construction can take a little more time than we’re used to, once the work is complete, it’s easy to enjoy the long-term benefits of a smooth ride.