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New movie theater is about to open. Here’s how Kennewick will deal with the extra traffic

New traffic signal on West 27th Avenue in Kennewick

The city of Kennewick will turn on its new stoplight on West 27th Avenue at South Olson Street this week in anticipation of increased traffic from the Fairchild Cinema at Southgate.
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The city of Kennewick will turn on its new stoplight on West 27th Avenue at South Olson Street this week in anticipation of increased traffic from the Fairchild Cinema at Southgate.

No. You’re not seeing things if your travels take you down Kennewick’s West 27th Street.

The city of Kennewick is turning on its newest traffic signal, at South Olson Street, near the entrance to the new Fairchild Cinema by Walmart.

Electricians will begin the process at 8 a.m. and the light should be running within a couple of hours, said Evelyn Lusignan, spokeswoman for the city.

The light was installed several weeks ago.

The city installed the signal early to coincide with the opening of the new 10-screen theater, expecting it will generate more traffic near the entrance to the Canyon Lakes neighborhood.

Fairchild hasn’t set an opening date yet.

This week, the private, Pasco-based company announced on Facebook it had begun grading work and expected to begin laying asphalt for its parking lot.

Fairchild offers upscale amenities such as online seat reservations, reclining leather seats and alcohol sales at some theaters. The 12-screen Fairchild at Queensgate opened in December 2015.

The cinema has a 2823 S. Quillan Street address, but connects to South Olson through a new driveway.

Owner Jeff Fairchild bought the 8.6-acre site at Southgate in 2011. Six years later, the company announced plans for a movie house.

The city of Kennewick approved the 44,000-square-foot project last summer.

Paradigm Designs of Michigan, which created Fairchild’s Pasco and Richland cinemas, designed the Kennewick branch.

Gesa Credit Union provided financing. And Fairchild is acting as its own general contractor.

Fairchild will announce its opening date for Southridge, as well as its hiring plans, on Facebook @FairchildCinemasSouthgate.

Wendy Culverwell writes about local government and politics, focusing on how those decisions affect your life. She also covers key business and economic development changes that shape our community. Her restaurant column and health inspection reports are reader favorites. She’s been a news reporter in Washington and Oregon for 25 years.
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