Work begins to convert southbound shoulder of I-5 in Vancouver into bus-only lane

Beginning Saturday, crews will close the shoulder and up to two left lanes of southbound I-5 between NE 99th Street and the Interstate Bridge for repaving, restriping and electrical work

VANCOUVER — Beginning Saturday, drivers on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Vancouver will experience lane closures due to nighttime construction.

Beginning Saturday, drivers on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Vancouver will experience lane closures due to nighttime construction. Photo by Mike Schultz
Beginning Saturday, drivers on the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near Vancouver will experience lane closures due to nighttime construction. Photo by Mike Schultz

On Saturday (June 13), C-TRAN in collaboration with the Washington State Department of Transportation, will begin work to construct a bus-only lane using the left shoulder of southbound I-5, between the 99th Street Station and the Interstate Bridge.

To reduce travel delays and improve safety for contractor crews, all work will be done at night when there is less traffic.  

Beginning Saturday, crews will close the shoulder and up to two left lanes of southbound I-5 between Northeast 99th Street and the Interstate Bridge for repaving, restriping and electrical work:

  • Single-lane closure schedule:
    • Sunday night to Friday morning, 8 p.m. – 4 a.m.
    • Friday night to Saturday morning, 8 p.m. – 8 am.
    • Saturday night into Sunday morning, 8 p.m. – 9 a.m.
  • Double-lane closure schedule:
    • Sunday night to Friday morning, 9:30 p.m. – 4 a.m.
    • Friday night to Saturday morning, 10:30 p.m. – 6 a.m.
    • Saturday night to Sunday morning, 10:30 p.m. – 7 a.m.

“Over the last three years, we’ve seen how successful the bus on shoulder pilot project has been for commuters who rely on C-TRAN buses for travel along State Route 14,” said Shawn M. Donaghy, CEO for C-TRAN. “We’re excited to partner with WSDOT once more to implement another low-cost solution, optimizing the use of the existing infrastructure to provide immediate benefits to commuters who use public transit on southbound I-5.”

During peak early morning travel times, traffic along southbound I-5 routinely experiences heavy congestion, causing significant backups and delays and an increasing potential for crashes. To maximize use of the existing highway, WSDOT contractor Tapani, Inc., will narrow the lanes of I-5 through the project limit from 12 feet to 11 feet, to provide a 14-foot-wide shoulder for buses to use when traffic congestion increases. The bus-only lane allows C-TRAN buses to bypass congestion by traveling on the shoulder, when speeds drop below 35 mph throughout this 5-mile stretch of highway.

When work is complete 

Bus-only lanes will look and operate like any other shoulder and have a minimal effect on traffic. The lanes are not designed to carry a large amount of traffic and are only used by buses to bypass traffic backups, providing transit riders with more reliable consistent travel. Signs along the freeway will alert drivers to expect bus use on the inside shoulder during congestion. The shoulder will still be available for disabled vehicles, incident response and emergencies.

Buses will begin using the southbound left shoulder of the interstate early this fall. Before then, C-TRAN will train its drivers to safely merge in and out of traffic during congested times.

The estimated cost of this project is $4.9 million and is funded by a Region Mobility Grant.   

This work is scheduled for completion in advance of the full closure of the northbound Interstate Bridge span, Sept. 12-20, 2020 for the Trunnion Replacement project.

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