Kennewick's largest road project of the year is showing progress.
The second phase of the Steptoe Street expansion project began in May and when finished next year will expand the road to five lanes from Center Parkway to West Clearwater Avenue, where a traffic signal will be added, said Kennewick spokeswoman Evelyn Lusignan.
And the BNSF Railway Co. will build a railroad bridge over Steptoe.
Making Steptoe Street into a major north-south traffic route on the west side of Kennewick is expected to ease traffic congestion on Leslie Road and Columbia Center Boulevard.
The bridge, roadway construction and cost to buy the land add up to $6.1 million.
A combination of state and federal grants will cover most of the project, but $500,000 of the $2.4 million road construction will come from the city.
"This project marks an overall improvement in transportation and will go far in terms of economic development in the area," Lusignan said.
Richland finished extending Steptoe Street to Center Parkway in 2011 as part of the first phase of the project, and Richland staff also played a major role in helping Kennewick plan for the second phase, she said.
Steptoe Street's phase 3 will connect through to West 10th Avenue and south to Hildebrand Boulevard, a major arterial serving the Southridge area of Kennewick.
And, starting Monday, Kennewick drivers should prepare for traffic delays on some roads, as the city begins its annual chip seal maintenance work.
Crews will chip seal 14 miles of road this year, costing $800,000. The seal -- a relatively thin asphalt oil and crushed rock layer -- protects the pavement beneath it from deterioration and keeps the city from having to entirely repave roads as often.
Next week's projects are:
--July 9: Cascade Street from 27th Avenue to Highland Drive, the roundabout on Creekstone Drive and South Irving Street, and Canal Drive from Neel Street to the Highway 395 overpass.
-- July 10: Edison Street from 10th Avenue to Clearwater Avenue and Canal Drive to Columbia Park Trail.
-- July 11: Creekstone Drive from Irving Street to Union Street and 19th Avenue from Union Street to Ely Street.
July 12: 45th Avenue from Ely Street to Olympia Street and Cascade Street from 27th Avenue to Highland Drive.
No roads will be worked on Friday.
For the complete schedule, go to www.bit.ly/NXGX0l.
-- Eric Francavilla: 582-1535; firstname.lastname@example.org