US 12 - Wallula to Nine Mile Hill - Build New Highway

Project news

  • The Governor’s proposed 2021-23 transportation budget makes necessary and much needed investments to fund fish passage and preservation objectives. To do this, the Governor proposed no new revenue sources and to delay; not cancel projects. The proposal does not cite specific projects rather the Governor intends to work with the Legislature to determine what projects to delay during session. We will have more direction regarding projects after the Governor approves and signs the Supplemental Budget spring 2021.

Needs & benefits

Since 2003, WSDOT and the US Highway 12 Coalition have made significant progress toward widening US 12 from two to four lanes from the Snake River (near Burbank) to Walla Walla. Phase 8 will complete the approximately 10 miles of new four-lane divided highway that will remain between Boise Inc. and Nine Mile Hill after Phase 7 is finished. 

In 2015, the Washington State Legislature provided funds for the Phase 8 roadway design and right of way acquisition as part of the Connecting Washington transportation funding package.

Completing this new section of US 12 highway will benefit the residents, businesses, and traveling public through improved safety, capacity, and mobility. In addition, the regional transportation system between the Tri-Cities and Walla Walla will better support the agriculture, the wine industry, and other freight traffic critical to Eastern Washington’s economic vitality. 

Project benefits include:

  • Increased safety: The proposed four-lane highway will improve safety by separating opposing traffic with a median. Grade-separated intersections with local roads will allow access to and from the new roadway. Building a four-lane highway will also ease conflicts between slow moving trucks and passenger vehicles.
  • Reduce congestion: A four-lane highway will improve traffic flow and provide improved passing vehicle movements.
  • Freight mobility:  Commercial trucks make up as much as 12% of traffic on US 12 in this area. Increasing capacity will reduce slowdowns and improve travel time for freight, tourism, recreational, and commuter traffic.
  • Economic:  Once complete, the new four-lane highway will connect Walla Walla to the western ports and enhance mobility within the region and state.


We will have more direction and a better timeline for the project after the Governor approves and signs the Supplemental Budget in spring 2021.


Financial Data for PIN 501203A
Funding Source Amount ($ in thousands)
2003 Gas Tax (Nickel Funding) $0
2005 Gas Tax (TPA) $0
Pre-Existing Funds (PEF) $0
CWA $21,815
Total $21,815

This project is partially funded by the 2015 Connecting Washington revenue package. $182.7 million remain unfunded for design and construction.


Bob Hooker, P.E.
WSDOT SCR Design-Build Project Engineer
Design Project Engineer Office

US 12 Phase 8 map