New lane on I-205 exit to open Tuesday

Part of the Salmon Creek Interchange Project, it will ease traffic at 134th

By Cami Joner, Columbian retail & real estate reporter

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A new lane will open Tuesday morning to northbound traffic pulling off Interstate 205 at the Northeast 134th Street exit in the Salmon Creek area.

The wider offramp is meant to relieve rush-hour traffic congestion that often fills the exit and backs up onto the interstate. The exit widening is part of the $133 million Salmon Creek Interchange project, according to the Washington State Department of Transportation.

The entire Salmon Creek project was jointly launched by the state and Clark County Public Works in 2010 to improve traffic flow near the confluence of I-5 and I-205. The work includes widening I-5, improving local roads and building a new interchange at Northeast 139th Street.

Transportation officials say drivers will next notice a wider interstate north of the 134th Street intersection. Crews from Battle Ground-based general contractor Rotschy Inc. expect to finish widening the section between Northeast 134th and Northeast 179th streets from four to six lanes this summer.

Construction is also expected to start this summer on the final stage of the project -- building a new interchange at 139th. The project is designed to provide a second east-west route across the interstates and alleviate gridlock on Northeast 134th Street.

The Salmon Creek Interchange Project is scheduled for completion in 2014.