Richland residents can weigh in Thursday about whether they would like to see roundabouts on Queensgate Drive.
An open house on possible changes to intersections south of Interstate 182 on the busy south Richland street runs from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at the administration building at the city shops, 2700 Duportail St. No formal presentation is planned, so attendees can come and go during the event.
The city is seeking input for a Queensgate corridor study.
Gail Everett with the city’s Green Living Program said Richland is looking at the east-and-westbound interchanges with the freeway, along with the intersections at Columbia Park Trail and Keene Road and a planned future intersection at Shockley Road.
The city is looking at whether to build roundabouts or install traffic signals, though it was unclear which intersections are under consideration to be converted to a roundabout.
Not everyone is convinced that roundabouts are the way to go.
“I don’t know how effective that would be,” said Brandon Ross, who works at Sterling’s Restaurant on Queensgate just north of the interstate. “(Traffic’s) definitely a problem, but it’s something we’ve gotten used to.”
Others who work in the area said roundabouts could be the only thing to properly control traffic on Queensgate.
The study focuses on the area between Interstate 182 and Shockley Road, said Jeff Peters, Richland’s transportation and development manager. But staff will be able to discuss at the open house other parts of Queensgate, as well as a proposed Duportail Street bridge over the Yakima River that the city is seeking $38 million from the state to build.
J-U-B Engineers of Kennewick was hired by the city last year to provide traffic forecasts, intersection analysis and conceptual layouts of improvements on the Queensgate corridor to accommodate 20-year growth projections, according to Herald archives.
The study evaluated numerous existing and proposed intersections along Queensgate, including one for a planned extension to Shockley Road. That extension would provide a third point of access to the south Badger Mountain area. Projections call for that area to have 2,500 acres developed by 2034.
J-U-B recommends widening Queensgate Drive north of the freeway overpass to include a second southbound lane and an exclusive northbound left-turn lane at the onramp to I-182 west. It also suggests adding a second lane to the on-ramp to I-182 east.
Proposed changes south of the interstate include widening Queensgate to allow four lanes for northbound travel and two lanes for southbound travel between Columbia Park Trail and Keene Road.
Left turns to and from Queensgate Drive would be prevented by a raised median, which would convert all access to right turns.
But no decisions have been made on the intersections, and the feedback the city gets at the open house will weigh in the decisions, Everett said. Also affecting decisions will be a survey that will be available on the city’s website startingMarch 12.
“What we’re really wanting to do is gauge the citizens’ input,” she said.