Big Road Changes in Richland - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Big Road Changes in Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. - The City of Richland is thinking about some major road changes. Some plans include building new streets, even bridges, but before construction crews go to work, city leaders want to know what you think.

Richland is looking at four different ways to free up downtown traffic. A committee and a consultant have already looked the plans over, but you might live there, and drive there and Richland doesn't want to make a final decision without your input.

The cars on George Washington Way just keep on coming. Whether you take G-Way or the State Route 240 bypass into the city, you won't be getting any extra elbow room anytime soon.

"We have always been congested at those two key entry points. We're looking for ways to improve traffic flow in and out of Richland," said Steve Stairs, City of Richland Construction Engineer.   

So far city staff have come up with four options. The first idea connects Duportail across the Yakima River up to the Richland Walmart with a new bridge.

The second one also creates a new bridge over the Yakima River into Walmart, but loops down from Swift Boulevard.

The third idea extends Goethels over Interstate 182 and hooks up with Keene Road.

The last option basically adds an extra lane to the connector between I-182 and the 240.

City workers can only go with one, but so far they doesn't know which way to lean.

"The Goethels alignment carries the most traffic, but it's also the most expensive," said Stairs.   

Richland fire fighters have their favorite, but they said anything that'll cut congestion will help them get around town faster.

"If you look at hitting rush hour our response is definitely slower, or if we go on a response at the same location at 2 a.m. in the night that response is much faster just because there's no traffic on the roadways at that time," said Battalion Chief James Hempstead, Richland Fire Department. 

Richland held an open forum for public input Monday night at Carmichael Middle School from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.