KENNEWICK -- Work starts Monday to give Kennewick's Olympia Street south of 27th Avenue a major makeover.
The $4.3 million project will bring a new roundabout to Olympia and 45th Avenue, with sidewalks, curbs, gutters and streetlights south to Locust Grove Road. It also will straighten and flatten part of Olympia Street not far from Highway 397.
The first phase, the preliminary work for the project, will continue until Oct. 31. It will require Olympia Street to be closed to through traffic between 36th and 45th avenues. Residents will be allowed access via 36th Avenue. Trucks needing access for deliveries should use Highway 395 and 27th Avenue.
The project is needed because of more traffic on Olympia Street and to improve safety for vehicle, bike and pedestrian traffic, said Steve Plummer, Kennewick engineering services manager.
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The roundabout, which will be similar in size to the one at Union Street and 27th Avenue, should resolve a traffic safety concern at 45th and Olympia. Westbound drivers now may not have a clear view of northbound vehicles heading down the hill.
Flattening part of the road also should improve visibility. Two bridges over a Kennewick Irrigation District canal will be widened.
Now some of the older sections along Olympia lack sidewalks and they were unlikely to be added without the project, Plummer said.
Money for the project is coming from the state's Transportation Improvement Board, federal sources, the city and Benton County.
The Kennewick City Council earlier agreed to pay property owners along Olympia Street north of 45th Avenue to buy almost 22,000 square feet of land needed to fill in the slopes as part of the project.
After preliminary work is completed, the project will be divided into three phases. Phase I will include work from 45th to 52nd avenues and the roundabout. Phase 2 will involve work from 45th Avenue to Highway 397 and Phase 3 will include work from 27th to 45th avenues.