SE Mill Plain Boulevard Improvement Project

Project Area: Approximately SE 104th Avenue to SE Chkalov Drive

August 2016

What's Happening

The right-of-way acquisition process, which includes appraisals and reviews, is currently underway. (Please see more information below under Anticipated Schedule.) Due to delays resulting from changes in federal and state processing requirements, the right-of-way phase of this project is now expected to be completed in 2017. Once that is done, the City's consultants will finish the remaining project design work. Construction is now anticipated to start in 2018.  

What's Been Done

Necessary environmental work for the project has been completed.

Public involvement and outreach was also an early part of this project. The City of Vancouver held an open house on Tuesday, April 29, 2014, at Cascade Inn, 11613 SE Seventh St., to gather feedback from direct stakeholders and the community at large when the project design was about 30 percent complete. A team of staff and design consultants provided information, answered questions, and gathered input regarding the project’s preliminary design.Unable to attend? Click here to view preliminary design information presented at the Open House. 

More than 70 people attended the open house, which was promoted through a direct postcard mailed to 7,104 addresses in the project area and emailed to 41 stakeholders. View the announcement here. Nearly 200 postcards were left at key activity centers and apartment complexes throughout the project area. News about the open house was also announced in a media release and on the City's Twitter and Facebook posts.

Based on input received there and through stakeholder interviews, the City continued to review and refine the preliminary design. 

Current Anticipated Schedule

Design and environmental work: Environmental work is done. Design is nearing completion. 

Right-of-way acquisition: Underway. Federal funding for this project requires any and all necessary right-of-way acquisitions strictly comply with federal laws and regulations that provide for uniform and equitable treatment for persons whose property is acquired for public use. That includes completion of environmental analysis and right-of-way plans development prior to the acquisition phase.

Please note: Acquisition and relocation information can be found here on the Federal Highway Administration Office of Real Estate Services website. For a helpful brochure, see: Acquiring Real Property for Federal and Federal-aid Programs and Projects.

Construction: Construction will follow after all right-of-way acquisitions and procedures have been completed, now anticipated for 2018. Please note that this updated project timeline depends upon completion of all necessary steps and requirements, and therefore may be revised if needed.


Project Overview

With recent federal grants for design, right of way acquisition and construction, this project to improve safety and address congestion from Southeast 104th Avenue to Southeast Chkalov Drive is now moving forward. Roadway, traffic signal, access and freeway onramp modifications are planned to enhance safety and minimize delays on busy Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard, a street with one of Vancouver's highest traffic volumes -- about 39,000 vehicles a day.

Improvements are expected to include modifications to the I-205 southbound ramp, closure of Southeast 107th Avenue connection to Mill Plain, left-turn restrictions at Southeast 105th Avenue and Southeast Mill Plain, and realignment of Southeast 104th Avenue to include a southern connection to Southeast Second Street.

Project enhancements will include pavement restoration from Southeast 104th to Southeast Chkalov, sidewalks upgrades with ADA-complaint ramps and crossing, stormwater improvements, street lights and transit stop. 


The City has received two federal grants for this project, totaling $4.2 million, to pay for design, right-of-way acquisition and construction. The City's local match is $395,000. 

Project Need/Benefits

This improvement project will enhance safety and reduce congestion along the busy Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard corridor. Among other things, the project will also improve ADA accessibility, provide better street lighting and improve stormwater. 

Project Opportunities/Challenges

Changes to connections for Southeast 104th, 105th and 107th avenues with Southeast Mill Plain are expected to impact some properties and require new ways to access some businesses. The bus stop location for eastbound Mill Plain will be evaluated for ways to better serve pedestrians with the removal of the traffic signal at Southeast 105th Avenue and Southeast Mill Plain. Street lighting will be upgraded to meet current City standards, better illuminating the corridor there. Neighborhood traffic patterns will be considered to determine where there may be potential impacts and where there could be improvements. Modifications to I-205 ramps will require close work with and approval by Washington State Department of Transportation, a partnership that will ultimately benefit commuters and neighbors, alike. 

More Project Background 

Mill Plain Boulevard is one of Vancouver's major east/west arterials with access to the I-205 corridor. While traffic flow has been improved over the years with widening, improvements to freeway ramps and signals, more improvements are needed to deal with traffic flow and historic conditions. The corridor is used daily by commuters, businesses, residents and visitors. There are a variety of major commercial and medical facilities nearby, including nearby Wal-Mart and further west, Southwest Washington Peace Health.

This busy half-mile-long section of Mill Plain at Interstate 205 experiences the highest daily traffic volumes in Vancouver – more than 39,000 vehicles daily, total westbound and eastbound. With less than 200 feet between the signalized intersections of Southeast 104 and 105th avenues and high vehicles volumes along both Southeast Mill Plain and Southeast 104th, options for improving traffic flow through signal timing alone are extremely limited. Traffic conflicts occur between vehicles queuing at the existing southbound I-205 ramp and vehicles heading east on Southeast Mill Plain. Similarly, more storage is needed at the eastbound left-turn lane to northbound I-205 ramp to reduce the conflicts of left-turning vehicles blocking eastbound vehicles. 

This project, aimed at resolving congestion and increasing traffic flow, has been listed in the City's Transportation Improvement Program since 2001, and most recently in the 2014-2019 plan adopted by the Vancouver City Council. 

Southeast Mill Plain Boulevard between 104th Avenue and Chkalov Drive Vancouver, WA