Kennewick received a holiday surprise this week with confirmation of a $1.1 million state grant for major improvements to Edison Street between Canal Drive and Clearwater Avenue.
The urban arterial grant will pay for reconstruction of about six-tenths of a mile of the four-lane street, including a center left-turn lane.
"This will complete what we started in doing the work near Metaline Avenue (at Kamiakin High School) this year," said Ken Nelson, Kennewick assistant director of public works.
That work, which involved crossing the railroad tracks and installing new crossing arms, was paid for by a $1.2 million federal safety grant. Nelson said the state grant will pay for similar improvements for the entire street.
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"We've been asking for this (state) grant for years and we finally got it," Nelson said.
The project at Edison and Metaline interfered with traffic all summer before being completed just after school resumed.
Nelson said construction on the next project won't begin until 2012, with the design work expected to take most of next year.
The biggest benefit from the improvements will be the center turn lane, which city officials expect will reduce the number of accidents that have happened on Edison between Canal Drive and Clearwater Avenue.
That area typically has been in the top 10 accident-prone zones in Kennewick for years, city records show.