New Traffic Signal, Turn Lanes Along Columbia Center Boulevard - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

New Traffic Signal, Turn Lanes Along Columbia Center Boulevard

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KENNEWICK, WA - Work begins Tuesday on a $500,000 project the City of Kennewick says will make driving safer along Columbia Center Boulevard.

Workers are going to install a traffic signal at Rio Grande, a cut-through to the median between Quinault Avenue and Canal Drive.

"Most logical people would say it's crazy to put another traffic signal between those locations," says John Deskins, traffic engineer in the Public Works Department. "But based on the analysis I've done, I think it's going to have very minimal impact on traffic long term."

The project also includes new turning lanes into Columbia Center Mall and a pedestrian crossing on Quinault Avenue.

Deskins says the improvements should cut down on the number of accidents.

During the project Deskins says drivers should experience minimal delays.

"A lot of work is going to be done inside the median between Quinault and Canal so we'll have to close off the lanes closest to the median."

The work starts at Canal Drive and Deskins says for the first two to three weeks drivers on their way to the mall may want to turn at Quinault avenue.

Sierra Electric won the bid for the project, which is funded through a state grant.

The work is scheduled to be finished by the end of June.