The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has narrowed in on three projects aimed at reducing congestion and improving safety on the portion of Interstate 5 that travels through Centralia and Chehalis.
According to a Wednesday news release from the state transportation agency, this decision comes after WSDOT staff collected input from community members and local governments during an online open house in June 2020.
WSDOT is proposing widening a section of southbound I-5 between Chamber Way and state Route 6, installing meter ramps at interstate on-ramps between 13th Street in Chehalis and Harrison Avenue in Centralia and building roundabouts at the Chamber Way and state Route 6 interchanges.
Construction on these projects is anticipated to start in 2023, WSDOT says. The $72.5 million in projects is part of the 2015 Connecting Washington program.
“This series of projects will help improve safety by reducing congestion-related crashes and improve mobility for all travelers throughout this important corridor,” WSDOT Project Engineer Colin Newell said in a statement.
Between 2014 and 2018, WSDOT recorded a total 1,146 crashes within the area of study. The Chamber Way corridor was identified as an area with peak hourly and weekend congestion that’s accentuated by one lane less than roadways leading in and out of the corridor, according to WSDOT.
“With growth and development expected to increase in this area, traffic backups and congestion-related crashes will continue if no changes or improvements are made,” reads WSDOT’s news release.
An overall timeline for the projects may vary depending on the amount of engineering work, right of way and environmental permitting, WSDOT said, and as such some might be constructed in phases.