The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

WSDOT planning local highway projects

 

April 29, 2021

Rick Nelson

A motorcycle rider prepares to use the bypass construct for the area on SR 401 that had been closed by a slide in February.

Motorists traveing SR 4 will experience two major projects this year.

The Washington Department of Transportation (WDOT) has scheduled paving work from Skamokawa to Longview and the start of crosswalk and speed limit reductions in the Cathlamet area, including the installation of speed feedback signs, school speed zone signs, crosswalks at high volume locations, and rectangular rapid flashing beacons.

"This effort will also include a permanent regulatory speed reduction to 35 miles per hour," Tamara Greenwell, WSDOT's southwest Washington communications directors reported last week.

Paving work ahead

"This summer, we'll resurface a roughly a 25-mile stretch of State Route 4 between Skamokawa and State Route 432 near west Longview, mileposts 29.77 to MP 54.98," Greenwell said via email. "Travelers will experience intermittent single lane closures and delays of up to 20 minutes during . . . the roadway resurfacing work--chip seal.

"We'll also add guideposts and restore lane markings. This work will help extend the life of the roadway."

She added that contractors have some finish work to do on the chip seal paving done last year from Rosburg to the Megler Bridge.

"Crews will need to pave a few intersections that were not paved last year in the Cathlamet vicinity - these intersections will be paved, not chip sealed, as they tend to see higher volumes of traffic. Crews will also install guideposts and roadway markings. Work will occur during daytime hours, Monday through Thursday."

The construction contract is scheduled to go to bid in May with resurfacing set to start in July and be completed through the summer.

SR 4 school crosswalk

The department is partnering with local entities to install a lighted crosswalk across SR 4, but these projects may blend into 2021 because of issues with equipment.

This project is scheduled to start in the fall and extend into 2022.

"The crosswalk and Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons (RRFB) system at the high school will be installed, likely late this year or early next year," Greenwell said.

"The work is pushed out from the summer roadway resurfacing work because of an unknown procurement time for steel. In addition to an increase in prices for steel, we've seen a delay in contractors' ability to procure steel, with wait times often of four to six months to obtain the necessary poles and equipment."

Other improvements coming to SR 4:

* Crosswalks will be installed across Main Street/Greenwood Road at the SR 4 intersection,

* Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons and crosswalk system at Jacobson Road intersection,

* Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons & crosswalk system at Boege Road/Columbia Street intersection,

* Lowering the speed limit to 35 mph from Una Ave to .25 miles past Columbia Street (approximately Fern Hill Road--ed.),

* New school zone beacons will be installed at the intersection of Wahkiakum High School Road and SR 4, and

* Radar feedback signs to be installed at new speed limit locations.

"Most of this work will only require single lane closures, though single lane closures will be needed when crews install the light poles," Greenwell said. "All of these improvements will help raise drivers' awareness to pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the highway, improving safety for all users."

There are currently no planned changes to the left turn access at Una Avenue or Chester Street, in Cathlamet, she said.

SR 4 KM Slide stabilization

"Most of the work on this project is complete, Greenwell said. "We're planning to clean out a culvert in the area and repair some erosion in the ditch that occurred over the winter and possibly some guardrail repair."

Final comments

Greenwell said department staff is in the process of preparing bidding materials and public information materials, and they've added a resource for checking weather conditions for the highway on KM Mountain.

" One other thing worth mentioning that highlights how we're using technology to help manage our system more efficiently--our maintenance crews recently updated a Roadway Weather Information System (RWIS) on State Route 4," she said. "Though it doesn't necessarily provide information directly to the public, the system recently installed at KM Mountain (MP 22.20) provides real-time roadway and weather conditions which is crucial to our maintenance staff when clearing/maintaining roads during weather events.

"As with any highway construction project, travelers should use caution in the area, pay attention and slow down. People who speed through the area can cause gravel to break loose from a fresh chip seal creating the risk of flying rock, create dust, limit visibility, and cause an inconvenience to local residents. We ask folks to plan ahead by getting real-time roadway and weather information 24/7 via the WSDOT mobile app: https://wsdot.wa.gov/travel/know-before-you-go/mobile-app.

"We appreciate folk's patience while we work to make these improvements along SR 4."

 

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