Federal money slated for I-182 bridge

The Richland City Council unanimously and without discussion approved an amendment to its six-year transportation plan on Tuesday to acknowledge more than $2 million in added federal money for improvements to Keene Road.

Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky said the money will go toward widening a bridge over Interstate 182 as part of an overall plan to widen Keene from two lanes to five between Kennedy Road and Queensgate Drive.

The city is in the midst of a yearlong project making improvements to that stretch of the road, which will make Keene a major arterial street with two travel lanes in each direction and a center turn lane.

The project is one of the last phases in a 15-year plan to widen the original two-lane county road, which has become a significant route for growing neighborhoods in south Richland and the city of West Richland.

The $3.5 million project plans for the widening and repaving of Keene, installation of a sidewalk on the south side of Keene, a multi-use path on the north side of the road, a new traffic signal at Kennedy Road, and installing new water and sewer mains to support development and to replace aging lines in south Richland.

The city also wanted to widen the interstate bridge, but didn't have the $3 million to make that portion of the project happen and so planned to widen the bridge at some point in the future, Rogalsky said.

The $2 million in added federal money brings the city that much closer to being able to build extra lanes for the bridge, but it still is about $1 million short, he said.

The city is looking at state and local funding sources to finish that portion of the project, he added.