Additional safety measures will be in place through 2024
VANCOUVER – New safety measures are coming to the State Route 14 work zone in Clark County between Southeast 164th Avenue and Interstate 205 beginning in August.
A temporary queue warning system – giving drivers a heads up about slowdowns ahead – will be installed near the work zone, and some of the project ramp meters will be activated earlier than scheduled.
Construction for the SR 14 – I-205 to SE 164th Avenue Auxiliary Lanes project kicked off in the fall of 2022, and with it came an increase in crashes in the work zone due to congestion, disabled vehicles, numerous lane changes and speeding. Washington State Department of Transportation crews are adding the new safety measures to help reduce collisions and increase safety during the rest of construction, which is expected to last until early 2024.
Ramp meters are stop-and-go traffic signals that space out and control the frequency with which vehicles enter the freeway, reducing collisions by 30%. Upon completion in 2024, the final ramp meter configuration will allow for three lanes of managed traffic and use a system that senses and adjusts based on traffic flow and amount of vehicles in line to optimize efficiency. In the interim, however, the meters will now be used for two lanes of traffic to help improve safety and traffic operations during construction.
Queue warning systems
Queue warnings use electronic roadside message signs to inform drivers about stopped or slow traffic ahead and give drivers more time to slow down as they approach the work zone. This is a “smart” system that uses sensors to give real-time notifications to drivers in advance of a slowdown. The system will be installed just east of the work zone in lieu of the advanced message boards currently in place.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue work to reduce congestion along SR 14 in east Clark County,” said Project Engineer Susan Fell. “With construction scheduled to continue until summer 2024, we remind drivers in the work zone to slow down, change lanes only as needed and pay attention to work zone messaging.”
Work zone safety
WSDOT is taking these steps to help drivers navigate congestion and minimize the number and severity of collisions in the work zone – but the agency also needs the public’s help. Nearly 95% of people injured in work zone crashes are drivers, their passengers or nearby pedestrians, so it is in everyone’s interest to pay attention and drive safely in work zones.
WSDOT asks all drivers in work zones to:
- Slow Down – drive the posted speeds, they’re there for everyone’s safety
- Be Kind – our workers are helping to keep everyone safe and improve the roadways
- Pay Attention – both to workers directing traffic and to surrounding traffic
- Stay Calm – expect delays, leave early or take an alternate route if possible; no meeting or appointment is worth risking someone’s life
Most work zone crashes are easily preventable. According to the Washington State Patrol, the top three reasons for work zone collisions in 2022 were: following too closely, excessive speed and inattention/distracted driving.
When the project is complete, additional lanes of travel in both directions of the highway will help ease congestion and improve travel reliability. Construction also includes installing storm water facilities, a noise wall, fiber optics and electronic message signs.
For traffic updates and construction schedules throughout the summer, sign up to receive email/text updates. Check road conditions before you leave the house by visiting the WSDOT real-time travel map and know before you go by uploading the free WSDOT mobile app.
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