NE 137th Avenue Corridor Completion

Upgrading the Vancouver corridor from Northeast 49th Street to Fourth Plain Road

The City of Vancouver is working on a project to upgrade Northeast 137th Avenue, from Northeast 49th Street up to Fourth Plain Boulevard, by improving the roadway to current urban standards, including pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

Current Status

Updated: Jan. 2024

The design for this project has been finalized, and construction is anticipated to start in 2024. Environmental documents, which include stormwater and other requirements essential to this project, have received federal and state review and approval. Acquisition of rights of way were recently completed.

The City of Vancouver successfully secured a $5 million federal Surface Transportation Program grant, awarded through Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council (RTC). Additionally, the City recently received a $3.25 million grant through the State Transportation Improvement Board (TIB). The City utilized Street Funding Strategy revenues to help leverage and enhance the ability to secure these grants.

During construction, the middle section of the roadway (around Burnt Bridge Creek) will be temporarily closed to through traffic. The closure will be necessary when crews remove unsuitable soils from underneath the roadway and construct a new open-bottom concrete culvert over the Burnt Bridge Creek.

Public Input Process

The City has provided information through communications with area neighborhood associations and the public has participated and given input through stakeholder interviews, sounding boards, and two open houses. Future additional outreach to nearby neighborhoods and communications to the larger community are anticipated as this project progresses. 

The second open house for this project was held from 5:30-7:30 p.m., April 16, 2015, at the Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary School’s Media Room. The City and its engineering consultant, HDJ Design Group, presented the preliminary draft design being used to develop a preferred option. The public was invited to drop by during the open house to view the proposed preferred design option for this corridor and speak with project engineers and others on the consulting team. A summary of the second open house is available to view.

In addition to this second open house, public input and participation with this project has been provided through a series of one-on-one stakeholder interviews, stakeholder sounding board sessions and open house events, as well as communications with surrounding neighborhood associations.

Following interviews with key stakeholders, as well as two sounding board sessions with other nearby property owners and neighborhood leaders, the City held the first public open house for this project on Dec. 3, 2014, to gather further input regarding the Northeast 137th Avenue design options under consideration. Postcards were sent to 1,165 addresses inviting nearby residents and businesses to drop by the open house at the Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary Media Room. A news release was also used to promote the event, along with social media posts.

Read a summary of the Open House and public comments received. This summary includes the 11-in-by-17-in handout showing various design options for the corridor.

Summaries of the earlier Sounding Board sessions are also posted below in the Files section of this project webpage, along with two files showing a conceptual proposed preferred alternative from the third Sounding Board session, held in March 2015.

Project Background

Planning for the project includes determining whether to use traffic signals or roundabouts, resolving questions about rights of way and stormwater drainage, completing an environmental evaluation, designing a crossing of Burnt Bridge Creek, and selecting pedestrian and bicycle facilities, as well as coordinating with utility companies and local, state and federal agencies.

Consultant HDJ Design Group was hired by the City to assist with the design and environmental process to upgrade this street to urban standards. The design portion of this Northeast 137th Avenue corridor project has been funded through a federal grant from Federal Highway (FHWA) program, awarded through RTC. Project right-of-way acquisition and construction are not fully funded at this time. (See Current Status, above.) Early estimate for the total project is anticipated at about $16 million.

Improvements to this street are needed to enhance safety, manage access to the fronting properties and minimize delay now caused by turning vehicles.

The completion of this corridor is important for the many users of this highly traveled north/south corridor. Currently, an estimated 13,000 vehicles per day us the Northeast 137th/138th Avenue corridor, and traffic is expected to double by the year 2030.

The City has already improved Northeast 137th Avenue, from Mill Plain Boulevard to Northeast 49th Street, with the section between Northeast 28th and Northeast 49th Street finished in late 2013. Improving the segment from 49th Street to Fourth Plain segment is the last piece needed to complete the corridor.