Yakama Nation Tribal Council signs resolution to support four roundabouts on US 97, SR 22 and SR 223

TOPPENISH – The Yakama Nation Tribal Council signed a resolution for the Washington State Department of Transportation to move forward with building four roundabouts along US 97 and State Route 22 from Lateral A to State Route 223.

Funding is already available for three of the approved roundabouts located at:

  • US 97 and Lateral A.
  • US 97 and SR 22.
  • SR 22 at SR 223.

With Tribal Council’s support, WSDOT will now pursue funding opportunities for the fourth intersection at US 97 and Larue Road intersection. If successful, WSDOT engineers could proceed with the design in the coming months. The timeline for construction has not been determined.

US 97 has the highest car and pedestrian crash rates in the state, disproportionately affecting American Indian and Alaskan Native populations.

“The transition from four-way stoplight-controlled intersections to roundabouts at US 97 and Lateral A and US 97 and SR 22 is an important safety step,” said Brian White, WSDOT assistant region administrator. “Roundabouts greatly reduce the chances of a head-on and T-bone collisions. Since roundabouts slow traffic down, the severity of crashes is much lower, reducing the number of the most serious and fatal injuries.”

Roundabouts increase pedestrian safety by allowing people to cross one lane of traffic at a time. Lower speeds also reduce severity of injuries.

In 2021, WSDOT constructed the first roundabout on US 97 at McDonald/Becker Road. Since construction, approximately 3.8 million drivers have successfully navigated the new roundabout with just two documented crashes. Each of those were caused by impairment and an unlicensed driver. A second roundabout is planned at US 97 and Jones Road with construction starting in 2023.

WSDOT has partnered with Yakama Nation Department of Natural Resources Engineering and the Yakama Nation Tribal Traffic Safety Committee since 2018. Working together, they have provided community engagement, driver safety campaigns and roundabout education with much more public outreach planned in the coming future.

Follow Yakama Nation Traffic Safety on Facebook to learn more about ways the Yakama Nation and area partners are working to improve driver and pedestrian safety.

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