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

New ramp meters on southbound I-5 in Vancouver went live Thursday

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

Beginning Thursday, 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. Photo by Mike Schultz
Beginning Thursday, 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. Photo by Mike Schultz

Beginning 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.”

New high-tech travel tools on Interstate 5 debuted this week which are designed to help improve trip reliability through Vancouver for years to come. Photo by Mike Schultz
New high-tech travel tools on Interstate 5 debuted this week which are designed to help improve trip reliability through Vancouver for years to come. Photo by Mike Schultz

The meters will activate automatically before traffic begins to stack up, which is intended 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 re-striped with new signs that advise drivers to use the shoulders when meters are active to help reduce potential backups onto 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. 

Real-time roadway and weather information is available 24/7 via the WSDOT mobile app, by following the Southwest Region Twitter account (https://twitter.com/wsdot_sw) or by visiting the Southwest Region travel advisory page https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/construction-updates/southwest.

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