The Washington Department of Transportation will spend $15 million on safety upgrades including traffic cameras and flashing “trucks entering highway” signs to the stretch of Highway 395 between Pasco and Ritzville this summer.
The 2015 Legislature approved funding in its $16 million Connecting Washington transportation package, funded by increases in the gas tax.
Highway 395 isn’t considered a busy stretch, but it is heavily used by trucks and the state regularly receives complaints about large vehicles entering traffic before they get up to speed.
The Highway 395 project includes building acceleration and deceleration lanes and improving existing left turn lanes to give large trucks more room to reach highway speeds.
The safety improvements are designed to reduce congestion and collisions.
Highway project open house
Learn more about it at an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at Country Mercantile, 232 Crestloch Road, Pasco. Department of Transportation staff will be available to discuss the project, but no formal presentation is planned.
Design work began last spring. The state will advertise the project for bids on April 29. Construction will take place this summer.
For more about the work, visit the project site at www.wsdot.wa.gov/projects/us395/safety-corridor/home
Connecting Washington is funding several other ambitious transportation projects in the Tri-Cities.
The 2015 Legislature authorized the 16-year program, which it funded with a series of gas tax increases totaling 11.9 cents per gallon.
The tax has been in full effect since mid-2016. Other local projects include:
- $15 million for Kennewick to build an interchange at the Highway 395/Ridgeline Drive
- $20 million for Richland’s Duportail Bridge to span the Yakima River
- $15 million to Pasco to replace the dangerous Lewis Street underpass at the BNSF rail lines
It previously provided $4.5 million for the Benton City roundabout at highways 224 and 225, near the Interstate 82 interchange at the entrance to the city.
The roundabout is part of a $30 million Red Mountain improvement project to build an interchange on I-82 between Benton City and West Richland.