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Sept. 24, 2022

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Clark County Public Works meeting set for 179th Street project

Residents can learn more about plans for roadwork

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

Clark County Public Works is hosting an open house on the planned 179th Street corridor road improvements at 6 p.m. Thursday. County residents can attend the open house virtually or in person at 1300 Franklin St. in Vancouver. The meeting will be on the sixth floor of the Public Service Center.

The proposed road work is part of the county’s access management and circulation plan for Northeast 179th Street. Public Works officials said the road improvement project is geared toward improving the safety and mobility of the road while balancing the infrastructure and utility needs of future development.

Public Works officials announced in February the county was moving forward with plans for the 2-mile road project. The first phase of the road project calls for improvements at two intersections along 179th Street, the first at Northeast 50th Avenue and the second at Northeast 29th Avenue. The addition of roundabouts had been planned for both intersections, but Public Works determined an interim project that adds left-turn lanes on the east and west sides of Northeast 179th at the 50th Avenue intersection would serve the area’s needs until 2035.

Residents living near the Northeast 50th Avenue intersection have been especially critical of the project and Public Works. Among their concerns are additional housing developments and the number and types of roads needed to support those developments, additional roads planned for their neighborhood which they say are unneeded, loss of wetlands habitat and whether the county is applying planning requirements equally, among others. They also say the county is putting the needs of developers above the needs of those already living in the area.

Construction was expected to begin in 2024 but that forward progress was temporarily halted in May after several residents told the county council they had been left out of the notification process. Public Works sent notices to residents living within 300 feet of the intersection, but the residents said the impacts from the project would affect a much wider area. The council directed Public Works staff to revisit and redouble its public outreach efforts and removed the project from the 2022 review cycle.

At the council’s June 8 meeting, Public Works planner Gary Albrecht said meeting notices for the Aug. 11 open house were sent to a more extensive list of neighbors than was sent for a previous open house in September 2019.

The project is being done through a partnership between the Public Works and the Washington State Department of Transportation and developers. Rather than a single project, it consists of a series of projects along Northeast 179th Street from Delfel Road west of Interstate 5 east to Northeast 50th Avenue.

For more information and links to the Aug. 11 open house, go to clark.wa.gov/public-works/179th-st-access-management-and-circulation-plan.

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