Woodland receives $2.6 million for Exit 21, over $600,000 for Gun Club Road


Residents can expect better pedestrian access and less traffic congestion on two key Woodland streets in future.

The City of Woodland has been awarded two grants to improve traffic snarls on Exit 21 and make Gun Club Road safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. The City Council unanimously approved to accept the funds at its Feb. 20 meeting.

Exit 21

Cowlitz County awarded the City of Woodland $2.6 million in grant funding to complete preliminary engineering for the Exit 21 project, which, when complete, will alleviate traffic congestion during peak hours.

The Exit 21 interchange connects Interstate 5 to state Route 503 and is Woodland’s main point of access. During rush hour, mainly from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., traffic is delayed leading to the exit, making entering and leaving the city difficult, Woodland engineering technician Kathryn Myklebust said.

The city is currently in its preliminary engineering phase through engineering firm Kittelson & Associates, Inc. City staff is working with Kittelson to decide if additional roundabouts or a new arrangement of traffic signals is a better solution.

Myklebust said staff and the consultants will determine which option will better alleviate congestion problems. She said the City Council previously indicated it supported traffic signals over roundabouts.

“The fact is, I-5 and SR 503 are both WSDOT owned roads, and so we are required to evaluate both options,” she said. “If there is money left after we are done with engineering, we should be able to then apply that money to other expenses.”

The consultant is preparing a survey to gather public opinion about the two options for Exit 21. Those results will be included in a final report to the City Council, after which councilors will decide on the project’s direction.

Kittelson and Associates will be presenting a work plan, including future public outreach, before Council members on March 18.

Gun Club Road Sidewalk, Bike Lane and ADA Project

The second project grant concerns Gun Club Road. WSDOT awarded the City of Woodland $616,392 Surface Transportation Block Grant to complete a sidewalk with ADA ramps on Gun Club Road as well as install a bike lane. The grant will pay for the final construction phase of the project. The project is currently in the engineering phase and is expected to be completed in 2025-26. In 2025, the city will need to seek additional  funding for the final overlay portion.

Walkers and bikers frequently use Gun Club Road because of its proximity to neighborhoods and North Fork Elementary School, Myklebust said.

“On the east side of Gun Club Road, it is intermittent sidewalks,” Myklebust said. “It is not a complete sidewalk from Lewis River Road all the way up to Cimerron [street]...”

A complete sidewalk will be installed on the east side of the road to match its west side. The project also includes additional ADA ramps for accessibility and paved bike lanes on both sides of the road.

Grant funds will also improve on-site stormwater infrastructure after the engineering phase for that project was delayed because of funding deficiencies.

Once the project is complete, bikers on Gun Club Road will have better access to nearby parks, neighborhoods and schools. The complete eastern sidewalk will provide pedestrians a safer place to walk.

Myklebust said the $616,392 is in addition to approximately $360,000 WSDOT granted to make all the sidewalk and ADA ramp improvements, ahead of the overlay portion of the project.

She said the City will complete engineering this year and seek overlay funds, as well. If all goes well, all the work will be complete in 2025.