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News / Clark County News

179th Street project is in House budget

Transportation proposal would allot $85 million for work

By William Seekamp, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 31, 2023, 6:00pm

Funding for the long-awaited 179th Street interchange on Interstate 5 may not be in the proposed state Senate transportation budget for 2023-25, but it is in the House of Representatives’ version, contrary to previous reports.

In fact, total House support for the project exceeds by $35 million the project’s $50 million price tag, according to a March 26 Legislative Evaluation & Accountability Program committee document. Under the House committee’s proposed budget, $4 million is allotted for the 2023-25 biennium, $28.5 million for the 2025-27 biennium and $52.5 million for the 2027-29 biennium.

The interchange improvement’s design phase is scheduled to start this summer, with construction beginning in 2027 and finishing in 2029.

The state Senate’s proposed transportation budget did not include funding for the project, however. After the two budgets are passed by their respective chambers, the conference committee will reach a compromise budget to be sent to the governor.

The interchange improvements will replace signalized intersections with a yet-to-be-determined interchange design, make onramp and offramp enhancements and make the area more accessible to bicycles and pedestrians.

The project is funded through the $16 billion Connecting Washington transportation and infrastructure package passed in 2015. The catalyst for the area’s growth and development came in 2019 when the Clark County Council lifted the urban holding designation from 2,220 acres near the I-5 interchange.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer