That’s a wrap: Highway construction from Yakima to Walla Walla winds down for 2023

YAKIMA – The approach of the calendar year’s end brings with it a number of significant highway construction milestones. With so many improvements made on highways between Yakima and Walla Walla in 2023, here is a brief recap of some of the Washington State Department of Transportation’s construction activity across the area:

US 97/Jones Road roundabout project

The roundabout on US 97 at Jones Road in Wapato is near completion after months of construction. So far, traffic is flowing well through the area thanks to the new roundabout.

SR 241/Mabton bridges project

WSDOT and contractor crews spent the summer working on two bridges along State Route 241 in Mabton. Crews removed the bridge over the slough south of the Yakima River and are working to restore the structural integrity of the bridge over the Yakima River. So far, crews have demolished the slough bridge and have plans to work through the winter.

Paving projects near Naches, Toppenish and Walla Walla

Thanks to new pavement, travelers will notice a smoother drive along sections of US 12 between Naches and Gleed, US 97 south of Toppenish, and SR 125 near Walla Walla. Crews also repaired bridge decks on Interstate 82 and US 12 in Yakima and on US 395 south of Mesa.

US 12 and I-82 Gordon Road project

Crews working on US 12 between North First Street and North 16th Avenue in Yakima created a traffic shift that will be implemented next summer to repave both bridges over Gordon Road in 2024. Throughout the summer, the westbound off-ramp to North First Street was closed as crews installed a new bridge deck and guardrail. The work is complete and the ramp will reopen Wednesday, Nov. 22.

I-82 Yakima River Bridges and Chandler Canal bridge deck repair

Crews began resurfacing the decks of three bridges on I-82 last spring. They completed one of the two westbound bridges this year and will resume work on the second westbound bridge in spring 2024, then get to work on the eastbound bridge later in 2024. This project will be finished in 2025.

US 97 Dry Creek/Yakima County Line – paving

Crews repaved an 11-mile-long section of US 97 south of Toppenish near Satus Pass. They were able to complete the work in October.

US 12 Nine Mile Hill to Frenchtown – new highway

Crews finished a new 11-mile-long section of US 12 between Nine Mile Hill and Frenchtown. The new four-lane stretch of highway opened in early June.

SR 240/SR 225 intersection roundabout construction

At the intersection of SR 240, SR 225, and Hanford Route 10 near Richland, crews completed a single-lane roundabout that will increase safety for travelers. The project was completed in late August.

US 395 Flamingo Mobile Home Park – noise wall

WSDOT installed a noise wall along US 395 in Pasco near the Flamingo Village Mobile Home Park. The 14-foot-tall wall will help reduce noise levels for nearby residents. Crews completed the project in late August.

US 395 Old Maid Coulee Bridge – deck rehabilitation

This preservation project removed the existing surface on the Old Maid Coulee Bridge on southbound US 395. Crews completed the project in July.

SR 125 Oregon state line to Military Road – paving and ADA compliance

WSDOT repaved several miles of SR 125 near Walla Walla, updated existing curb ramps to ensure they were ADA-compliant, and added several pedestrian improvements. This project was completed this summer.

US 395 Pioneer Memorial Bridge – painting

Crews began painting the US 395 Pioneer Memorial Bridge after the new year. Known locally as the Blue Bridge, its bottom and top portions are expected to be fully repainted by 2025.

Slow down on ice and snow.

It's easier to skid or lose control traveling at higher speeds. Give yourself more time to stop.

Carry chains, practice installing them.

Winter conditions could mean chains are required on your route. Practice putting them on your vehicle ahead of time.

Pack your winter car kit.

Carry extra supplies like warm clothing, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables and other emergency items.