$400K grant paves way for work on rural roads




A $400,000 federal grant will pay for subtle but, officials hope, key improvements to sections of some of Clark County’s most hazardous rural roads.

Those include: Washougal River Road, Hayes Road, Blair Road, Davis Road, Ward Road, 72nd Avenue, 179th Street and Risto Road.

The work will be done during May and June, said Jeff Mize, spokesman for the Clark County Department of Public Works.

“We have some serious safety problems on our rural roads, and we know that,” Mize said Friday. “We are pleased to have this money, and we are going to put this to good use.”

The grant was passed down to the county by the Washington State Department of Transportation.

County crews will install raised pavement signs, restripe traffic lines with highly reflective paint and replace signs with breakaway posts.

Other work includes replacing some roadside signs with larger, reflective ones and installing new street name signs with larger lettering to improve navigation, particularly after dark.

The county will also experiment with partially embedding raised markers into the pavement.

Rural roads tend to have higher accident rates than urban roads for several reasons, including a lack of street lighting and problems with sight distance, Mize said.

Many of Clark County’s rural roads were built more than 50 years ago.

“These aren’t dramatic changes,” Mize said. “But even small changes, such as using highly reflective paint, can prevent accidents and save lives.”

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.