Pasco road extension set to begin

Construction on a second arterial route to and from northeast Pasco is to start Monday.

Selland Construction of Wenatchee will extend East Foster Wells Road by 2 miles to connect to the Pasco-Kahlotus Road.

The $2.6 million project came in about $300,000 below budget, said Tim Fife, Franklin County public works director and engineer.

The county received a $1 million grant from a second set of federal stimulus dollars to pay for the project and also has a $1.4 million federal grant for the work.

About $250,000 of the cost will come local dollars to meet a match requirement.

Extending East Foster Wells was envisioned in 1991, but Fife said the county postponed the project because of opposition from residents.

After the project is finished, if the Pasco-Kahlotus Road has to be closed for any reason, there will be an alternate route, Fife said. That has happened before. About five years ago, power poles fell onto the road.

The alternate route back then required a detour of more than 45 miles, Fife said.

The project also will help Franklin Fire District 3 respond to calls for service more quickly because one of its fire stations on Pasco-Kahlotus Road is at the end of the East Foster Wells extension, Fife said. And it will improve transportation to the Pasco Processing Center.

Commissioner Brad Peck said the extension will also help farmers transport products and open up the southeast portion of the county.

The connection should be complete by October, Fife said.