Short of requiring self-driving cars, there’s only so much that can be done to make a road safer. But work on a 7-mile stretch of highway in north Clark County aims to get pretty close.
Beyond making room for a growing Battle Ground, the $84 million widening of state Highway 502 has big safety improvements in mind.
There have been 246 accidents on the highway since 2010, three of them fatal, according to Washington State Department of Transportation data. Concrete median barriers, which started going in earlier this fall, are one part of helping to stem that.
“Median barriers help improve safety a lot,” said Susan Fell, WSDOT’s project engineer. “That controls where people enter and exit the highway. The fewer number of accesses greatly reduces a lot of the movements you have that lead to accidents.”
Another upgrade for the road comes with three new traffic signals, at Northeast 29th, 50th and 92nd avenues. They’re necessary in part to help drivers make U-turns when medians prevent crossing. The signals will join what was the only stoplight on the highway, at Northeast 72nd Avenue.