The summer work on Battle Ground’s busiest intersection is set to be complete in mid-October should construction continue at its current pace.
The intersection of state Route 503 and state Route 502, which becomes Main Street, has undergone work adding turn lanes to the road since spring. Throughout the project, the intersection has experienced lane closures as crews bring the improvements to fruition.
The most significant work for this week is installation of mast arms for the new traffic signals and the switch over to the new system, Battle Ground Public Information Officer Alisha Smith said Sept. 1. That installation is planned to happen at night.
The project is the third of a six-phase plan to provide congestion relief to the 502/503 corridor. The first phase broke ground in 2017, with the most major phase being the current work on the intersection itself.
The current phase has an estimated cost of about $5.9 million, none of which comes directly from the city, the project webpage for the work stated.
Smith said, once those signal poles go up, there isn’t much left of the project to complete.
“Really, we’re on the home stretch of this project,” Smith said.
The last few things on the to-do list are paving, striping and finishing up work on the concrete “islands” separating traffic at the intersection.
As of Sept. 1, the construction crews were on schedule to make a mid-October completion date.
“As you can imagine with construction, anything can happen, weather and whatnot,” Smith said.
Smith said city officials knew from the outset that the lane closures and construction work would affect people driving through the intersection, prompting a focus on keeping the public informed on what would be happening.
“We knew that this was going to be a significant impact on their daily lives, and so communication was a top priority for us,” Smith said.
City staff have not received that many complaints about the project and indicated they appreciated the inquiries into some of the more detailed parts of the work.
“People very interested in the little bits and pieces of the project has really been the interactions that I have had,” Smith said.
After breaking ground in March, the project had surprisingly few hiccups, Smith said. Although the contract was awarded last summer, the contractor took until this spring to begin the physical work, which Smith said was due to ensuring there were no delays on getting the needed materials to finish.
The city also didn’t have issues in working with the Washington State Department of Transportation. As the intersection is the convergence of state routes, cooperation with WSDOT was integral in the city’s ability to complete the project.
“That relationship has been fantastic through this process,” Smith said.
Dealing with paperwork for federal funding was the biggest challenge city Public Works Director Mark Herceg encountered during the project, Smith said. Those federal funds accounted for $4.1 million of the total price tag, according to the project webpage.
Smith thanked residents’ for their patience and the questions they have asked during the duration of the project.
“When we know what they are thinking, questions that they’re asking, and engaging with the city is very valuable to us,” Smith said.