Steptoe Street to be expanded to 10th

By Kristi Pihl, Tri-City HeraldNovember 22, 2012 

Kennewick will be able to extend Steptoe Street to 10th Avenue, thanks to a recently announced $3.1 million state Transportation Improvement Board grant.

That brings the city another step closer to providing road connectivity between the Southridge area and the rest of Kennewick.

"We are excited that we are making more progress in that direction for the connectivity," said Evelyn Lusignan, Kennewick's customer services manager.

Connectivity helps spur economic growth and improves the transportation infrastructure of the Tri-Cities, she said.

The grant will help the city extend Steptoe from Fourth to 10th avenues, Lusignan said. The portion is expected to cost $5.2 million. The balance will come from the city's capital improvement funds.

Steptoe Street will be two lanes in both direction for that portion, she said. As part of the project, 10th Avenue will be realigned and a roundabout will be installed at 10th Avenue. This portion of the Steptoe Street extension, called the third phase, may be finished in fall 2014, she said.

Currently, work is being done to extend Steptoe to Fourth Avenue. Lusignan said the road to Clearwater Avenue is being finished and is expected to open in March. Work is ongoing to extend Steptoe from Clearwater to Fourth.

The $5.3 million second phase of the Steptoe extension was supposed to end at Clearwater, but the city was able to extend the road an additional 700 linear feet during that phase thanks to project savings and some additional grant funding, Lusignan said.

The second phase was paid for by $3.3 million in federal grants and more than $1.8 million from the state, she said. It is expected to be finished in March.

Eventually, Steptoe Street will connect all the way to Hildebrand Boulevard, Lusignan said. That will require more extensions of Steptoe and Hildebrand, and will help improve access and connectivity between Highways 240 and 395.

The city also recently received a $200,000 Transportation Improvement Board grant to install about 2,900 linear feet of sidewalk on the east side of Gum Street between 10th and Highway 397.

The project cost is estimated at about $250,000, and the city will use capital improvement funds to pay for the rest, Lusignan said.

The sidewalk will connect to existing sidewalks, she said. That portion of Gum Street, which has one lane in each direction, already has a sidewalk on the west side.

The sidewalk should be complete by next fall, Lusignan said.

In the meantime, other Southridge road projects are nearing completion. Paving is complete on Hildebrand Boulevard from Southridge Boulevard to Sherman Street, Lusignan said. Pavement markings still need to be made, so the road is likely to open to traffic mid-December.

Paving also is finished on extensions of Ridgeline Drive, Plaza Way and Southridge Boulevard. Lusignan said roundabouts need to be finished and traffic lights must be installed. Those roads likely will open to traffic the first part of February.

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