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Monday, June 20, 2011
Summer Derrey, WSDOT Communications, 509-577-1943 (Yakima)
Bill Preston, WSDOT Project Engineer, 509-577-1810 (Yakima)
TOPPENISH – Drivers can look forward to better traffic flow on a safer, wider State Route 22 as crews today start work on a three-mile stretch of the highway that has seen 192 collisions in the past five years.
The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) and the city of Toppenish are partnering to improve safety on SR 22 from Interstate 82 to First Avenue. Congestion-related collisions, such as rear-end and t-bone collisions, made up the majority of collisions in the last five years. Many involved vehicles stopped on the highway while waiting to turn left onto a side street.
To reduce congestion and the risk of collisions, crews working for WSDOT will:
- Improve traffic flow by widening the existing lanes and shoulders on the highway.
- Reduce wait times and the risk of rear-end collisions by constructing left- and right-turn lanes at the intersections of Fraley and McDonald roads.
- Improve safety by upgrading guardrail.
- Provide better access for pedestrians by installing new sidewalks with ramps that meet the guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
During construction, crews will reduce traffic on SR 22 to one lane of alternating one-way traffic on weekdays during daylight hours. McDonald Road will be temporarily closed during construction, although a date for the closure has not yet been set. Detour routes will be available through the work zone.
This March, the city of Toppenish enacted an ordinance banning parking on the east side of SR 22 from Jefferson Avenue to East McDonald Road and on the west side of the highway from the Franklin Avenue intersection to North Goldendale Avenue next to Toppenish Middle School. Crews will use the shoulder space previously used for parking to provide the additional width needed for the new turn lanes.
Check the construction updates Web page for weekly travel impacts. WSDOT understands the importance of keeping traffic moving through the work zone. Drivers should slow down, be patient, pay close attention to signs and expect delays.
This $4.63 million project, funded by the 2005 gas tax, is scheduled to be completed this fall.
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