An online survey about what to do with four intersections on Queensgate Drive in south Richland had already been filled out by 240 people as of Monday afternoon.
The city survey comes on the heels of its open house meeting that drew 120 people to the city shops March 12, the day the survey went live. City spokeswoman Trish Herron said the subject of Queensgate improvements is interesting to commuters and residents of the area.
“It was able to resonate with a variety of groups,” she said.
The seven-question survey asks people whether they prefer to see a roundabout or traffic signal at Queensgate Drive intersections with Keene Road and Columbia Park Trail. It also asks if they would prefer a stop sign or roundabout at an intersection of a planned extension of Queensgate Drive and Shockley Road.
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People are asked if they like the idea of a single-lane roundabout at the interchange with the eastbound ramps for Interstate 182.
The Queensgate Corridor Traffic Study, performed by J-U-B Engineers Inc. of Kennewick, is available on the city’s website and has examples of the proposed intersections.
The proposal for the Queensgate Drive-Keene Road roundabout shows a two-lane roundabout. Jeff Peters, Richland’s transportation and development manager, said the city had considered building a pedestrian underpass below either a roundabout or traffic signal, but determined that might not be possible because of underground utility lines.
The pedestrian underpass was expected to cost $1.7 million.
Examples of the Queensgate roundabouts at Shockley Road and Columbia Park Trail show a combination of one- and two-lane circles.
Peters said those he’s heard from have been split on whether they want roundabouts or traffic signals to be installed along Queensgate Drive, he said.
“There are people that I talked to that don’t like roundabouts, but there are people who say they will work in certain situations,” he said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what the reaction is.”
Preliminary estimates have placed the cost of building new or improved traffic signals along Queensgate Drive at $4.9 million, while roundabouts would cost $6 million.
Work on the extension of Queensgate Drive to Shockley Road could start as early as this year, Peters said. A developer is expected to build the road to city specifications, with Richland eventually reimbursing the cost through traffic impact fees charged to new homes and businesses in the area.
The extension of Queensgate Drive is expected to eventually provide a third point of access to the Badger Mountain South community.
Other questions on the survey ask if people would like to see Columbia Park Trail extended to the west of Queensgate Drive to areas now served by Jericho Road. The survey says this would allow for restrictions on turns from Jericho Road to Queensgate Drive, improving traffic flow.
People also are asked about adding travel lanes on the bridge over I-182, which would reduce shoulder space for people to walk on. The study recommended re-striping the bridge to increase its capacity. The survey asks whether people would prefer pedestrian access on the northbound side, southbound side or both sides of the bridge.
The state’s only involvement with the city’s project now is to consider the feasibility of a roundabout at the interchange with Queensgate Drive and I-182, said Todd Daley, the Department of Transportation’s assistant regional traffic engineer. The change would allow for two southbound through lanes on Queensgate Drive going over the bridge, along with one southbound left turn lane and a northbound through lane.
It is undetermined whether the city or state would pay for the interchange improvements, he said.
“I can tell you DOT does not have funding for it at this time,” Daley said.
The final question on the survey asks if people support eliminating left turns into driveways off Queensgate Drive between Keene Road and Columbia Park Trail to improve traffic flow and safety.
People have until March 27 to fill out the survey.
“Once that’s done, we’ll have to combine all the input, and we’ll end up making a recommendation to council sometime in April or May,” Peters said.
The city will then take the final plans and prioritize which part needs to be done first based on need and available money, Peters said.
Some at last week’s meeting wanted to know whether a Duportail Street bridge over the Yakima River would affect the study. Herron said the bridge, which the city is seeking $38 million from the state to build, was taken into consideration in the study.