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Aug. 19, 2022

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WSDOT ‘Goodwill’ Lake project wrapping up

Updated drainage system will fix puddle problem

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Northbound drivers of state Highway 503 between Battle Ground and Vancouver will be in for a welcome surprise this fall: the days of fording Goodwill Lake are over.

The Washington State Department of Transportation is wrapping up a project that overhauled a faulty drainage system that occasionally produced a large deep puddle colloquially known as “Goodwill Lake,” given its proximity to the Goodwill Outlet Store on Northeast 117th Avenue/Highway 503 near Northeast 87th Street in Vancouver.

The giant puddle formed on the roadway after heavy rainfall, especially in the winter.

“Clearly it was something that needed to be addressed,” WSDOT project engineer Devin Reck.

Originally, the drainage system flushed water directly into the ground rather than a sewer system. The original design was installed in the 1980s. It worked well for a while, but the system clogged with debris fairly quickly. Once clogged, water would back up and flood the road until WSDOT crews cleared the drain.

McDonald Excavating Inc., the contractor chosen by WSDOT, has been working since late August to correct the underlying issue that causes the roadway to flood. They’ve replaced the old system with one that routes the storm water away from the road and into a new infiltration site. It’s expected to be finished in a few weeks. And should cost less than $700,000.

Reck said workers replaced seven catch basins along the road, tied them into one system and built an infiltration pond across the road.

“As of today, it’s fully functional,” he said.

WSDOT combined the drainage project with the installation of a Variable Message Sign board, which gives traffic information to motorists.

The last bit of work is the installation of equipment that pretreats the water before it flows into the pond. That site will eliminate the larger, bulky material that comes off the roadway and causes flooding. Occasionally maintenance crews will vacuum the debris that collects in the vault.

Reck said that WSDOT will likely employ similar solutions along other parts of Highway 503 if needed.

Columbian staff writer

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