NE 18th Street Improvement Project
Coming: Four Seasons Lane to Northeast 138th Avenue
In November 2015, the City of Vancouver was awarded a $4 million grant from the Washington State Transportation Improvement Board that will allow construction on this phase of the Northeast 18th Street Improvement Project (Segment 1B) to get underway in 2016. The project will improve vehicle and multi-modal usage along this heavily traveled corridor, particularly in the vicinity of the new Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) interchange currently under construction at NE 18th Street and Interstate 205.
Design of the project and all necessary right-of-way acquisition has been completed in 2015, helped by a $2.8 million federal Surface Transportation Program (STP) grant received in 2012.
The segment of NE 18th Street between Four Seasons Lane and NE 136th Avenue was originally developed as a narrow two-lane road and is now used by nearly 16,800 vehicles per day. Urban upgrades to the street will include additional travel lanes, improved traffic signal systems, and new bicycle and pedestrian facilities, including a dedicated multi-use pathway.
Estimated cost of improving this segment of Northeast 18th Street is currently estimated at about $12.5 million. In addition to the recent TIB grant, construction funding is expected to use a combination of development contributions, traffic impact fees, bonds, and $4 million in federal grants approved through the local Regional Transportation Council (RTC).
Project Need and Benefits
As residential and commercial growth continues east and west of Interstate 205, Northeast 18th Street is becoming more congested. Without improvement, it will be unable to accommodate future traffic demands. The goal of the improvements is to provide a safe and efficient multi-modal east/west connection across the city, offer ready access to emergency facilities, and alleviate traffic congestion on nearby streets. These improvements are projected to accommodate growth in the area over the next 20 years.
Meanwhile, the new state interchange at Interstate 205 and Northeast 18th Street scheduled to be completed in 2016, making completion of this segment of Northeast 18th Street even more critical.
Opportunities and Challenges
This project has presented some opportunities and unique challenges, including multiple layers of interests in right of way needed through the Bonneville Power Administration corridor, and agricultural easements granted by BPA and private agreements between leasees and third parties. In addition to agreed upon compensation for right-of-way acquisition, compromises were made in the design and agreed to by both the City and Joe’s Place Farm, with the focus on keeping Joe’s Place Farm in business long after the project is constructed.
Further east, a frontage road will provide an alternative to multiple driveways along the street and the safety and traffic problem of cars backing onto 18th Street. While the frontage road is expected to enhance safety and screen residents from arterial traffic, it also has raised Landover-Sharmel Neighborhood questions about potential affect of traffic at 126th Avenue, 129th Avenue, Village Green Drive and 134th Avenue. Although a traffic study has shown these intersections will operate acceptably for the next 20 years, the City has agreed to evaluate streets within the neighborhood, including Village Green Drive and 22nd Street, and install traffic calming and/or stop signs if warranted following the project.
Opportunities include new walkways and the addition of bicycle lanes to increase pedestrian and bicycle safety, provide ADA accessibility and enhance the neighborhoods.
Improvement of this corridor has been a regional priority for many years. Beginning in the late 1970s when it was part of unincorporated Clark County, Northeast 18th Street has been identified as a major east-west arterial from 87th to 192nd avenues. A multitude of studies have been conducted, from 1986 to 2013, and all have reinforced the need for a five-lane street system between I-205 and Northeast 138th Avenue.
Extensive public involvement was conducted from 2002 through 2010 during the environmental assessment and design of this project. The City's original project for the section from I-205 to 138th Avenue was split into two phases back in 2010 due to funding constraints. Communications continued during construction of Segment 1A - the first segment from I-205 to Four Seasons Lane - which was completed in late 2011.
Civil Designs are more than 90 percent complete for this next segment, from Four Seasons Lane to Northeast 138th Avenue. These can be viewed in the Supporting Document section below. The Design Guideline report for the entire Northeast 18th Street corridor is also available below.
The Washington State Department of Transportation has a project in this same area. Please click on the link for more details: I-205 - Mill Plain Interchange to NE 18th Street
NE 18th Street Improvement Project Vancouver, WA