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Road construction and maintenance

NE 179th Street improvements

  • NE 179th Street looking towards I-5
    NE 179th Street looking toward I-5
    Project number: 390222
  • Project limits: NE 179th Street between NE Delfel Road and NE 15th Avenue - Map (PDF)
  • Project type: Improving 179th Street to a four-lane principal arterial with intersection improvements, new drainage system, utilities, and bicycle and pedestrian access.

Background

Clark County is working with the Washington State Department of Transportation to ease congestion and improve safety on Northeast 179th Street near Interstate 5. A project has been discussed for some time, but no specific design has been selected.

The project is listed as a top priority on Clark County’s 2010-15 Transportation Improvement Program because of traffic congestion, accident history and the current road’s inability to support development envisioned in the Clark County Comprehensive Growth Management Plan.

Project description

Clark County Public Works is studying different alternatives for improving this half-mile stretch of NE 179th Street, including realigning NE Delfel Road to the west to connect with the existing traffic signal and improving intersections for the freeway’s on- and off-ramps. 

Under federal law, any changes to the freeway system, including access points, requires preparation and approval of a detailed Interchange Justification Report.

In addition to roadway upgrades, this project will include sidewalk, drainage and utility improvements.  Construction is planned for 2014. 

Why is the county doing this project?

Mobility and safety. Anyone who has been to the Clark County Fair or a concert at the Sleep Country Amphitheater knows how congested this area can get. The state doesn’t have the funding to do a complete rebuild of the NE 179th Street interchange.

The NE 179th Street project will realign the intersections to improve mobility and eliminate conflict points that contribute to accident rates.  Up to eight alternatives will be identified and analyzed to determine which improvements increase capacity of the local road system without having impacts to the I-5 mainline.   

Jobs. Clark County had a 13.1 percent unemployment rate in April 2010, the second highest among Washington’s 39 counties. Estimates indicate the NE 179th Street project would serve 755 acres, where more than 4,000 jobs could be created.

Providing good-paying jobs means county residents would have more money to spend at local stores and businesses, which boosts the overall economy. This creates what economists call a multiplier effect as money repeatedly changes hands and circulates through the community. 

Local revenues. Killian Pacific, a Vancouver developer, has submitted a letter of intent to build a 600,000 square-foot shopping center on the southeast corner of the NE 179th Street interchange.

Killian Pacific estimates its project has the potential to capture more than $100 million a year in retail spending that now flows to Oregon. That could mean more than $1 million in additional sales tax revenue to county government to help pay for this public improvement.

That is just one company committed to developing one project in one quadrant of the interchange. The NE 179th Street project has the potential to support much more development across hundreds of acres that could generate millions in additional local tax revenues. 

For more information, please contact:

Linda Small, Project Manager
(360) 397-6118 ext. 4753
Linda.Small@clark.wa.gov

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