Traffic counting project underway in the Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Traffic counting project underway in the Tri-Cities

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TRI-CITIES, WA - Driving around Tri-Cities, you'll probably notice wires across the road in several different places. But what are they for?

Those tubes you're seeing all along the road aren't for decoration. This spring and summer, the Benton and Franklin Council of Governments is doing its biennial traffic counting project.

With 630 sites all over the Tri-Cities, each tube counts the number and time of day of vehicles, vehicle classification, whether it's a passenger car, motorcycle, or truck by its axle length and speed at which those vehicles are traveling. 

When a vehicle drives over the tubes, a puff of air is sent to the traffic recording unit and the information is collected and later downloaded to when that location's traffic study is complete.

"We're actually going to split it up between the urbanized area, which is West Richland, Richland, Kennewick and Pasco," said Geoff Wagner, a transportation planning specialist. "We're doing this currently; it'll actually be finished up in the first week of June, and then the rural counts, for like the rural Benton County and Franklin County, we're going to do in September/October time frame to get the whole farm-to-market aspect of it."

By using this system, the Council of Governments can have a better idea of road usage and how to better maintain future infrastructure.

The project is expected to continue all summer into early fall, and you can find all the information on where you can see the data here: