JUST ASK SHANE: Update on Hwy. 12 Expansion Between Pasco & Wall - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

JUST ASK SHANE: Update on Hwy. 12 Expansion Between Pasco & Walla Walla

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WALLA WALLA, WA - We have an update on a highway expansion project that originally started more than a decade ago, and still continues today.

Gary sent me an email asking, "A few years ago the state issued a plan to expand Highway 12 to four lanes from Pasco to Walla Walla. Some of it is done, but when will the rest be finished?"

I spoke with Port of Walla Walla officials and found out the first phase of this project was completed in 2004, and the latest phase was just finished back in 2010.  Right now, the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition is pushing the state legislature to allocate funding for phase 7, which would expand the highway to four lanes from Touchet to Lowden.

The group says the project is their top priority, and they have solid support from local lawmakers like State Senator Mike Hewitt and Representatives Terry Nealey and Maureen Walsh.   

"We're hopeful that in this upcoming legislative session starting in January, that a transportation package will be brought back before the house and the senate.  If it is, we will make sure that this phase of four-laning is in the package," said Jim Kuntz with the U.S. Highway 12 Coalition.

Phase 7 would cost about $126 million and Kuntz says he's cautiously optimistic that we'll see the expansion from Touchet to Lowden completed in the next five years.

However, Kuntz says the final phase, which would expand the highway from Wallula to Nine Mile Hill, is still several years away.

Remember, if you've got a question about something going on in our community... send it my way.  You can reach me in the newsroom at (509) 737-6738, or send me an email at JustAskShane@nbcrightnow.com