Two Dangerous Stretches Of Road To Get Rumble Strips - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Two Dangerous Stretches Of Road To Get Rumble Strips

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WAPATO--Neighbors in Wapato are worried that a stretch of road is too dangerous.  Yakima County Public Works hopes to change that, with the help of a federal grant.

People who live on the five-mile stretch of W. Wapato Rd. from Shields Rd. west to Ashue Rd. say it can be a dangerous drive.

"There's an awful lot of accidents at night," Dave Smysar said.  Smysar lives at the corner of Wapato and Shields Roads.  "I think some of the people are a little bit inebriated on their way home."

Now Yakima County's got a $500,000 federal grant to try to make this road and a two-mile stretch of Yakima Valley Highway near Sunnyside safer.  This summer they'll line each road with rumble strips.

While there's already rumble strips leading up to a stop sign on West Wapato Road, this project will add them on the center lines and the shoulders.

"If everybody stays in the lane and keeps a safe distance, we won't have crashes," County Engineer Gary Ekstedt said.

Ekstedt expects the strips to at least cut the number of accidents in half.   The county also wants to put in guardrails.   Hopefully, less cars end up totaled.

"[Guardrails can] turn an injury crash into a property damage-only crash," Ekstedt said.  "We avoid the fatal crashes."

People who drive on W. Wapato regularly say more strips will make them feel safer.

"I think anything they can do to make people more alert would be a good idea," Smysar said.

"The few [strips] we have help [people to] pay attention when you're getting to the stop sign during the fog," Lucille Martin said.  She lives nearby on Branch Rd.

Rumble strips won't stop people from driving drunk, but it could give them a jolt.

"If they're going to drive they're going to drive," Martin said.  "So it'd probably help [make them] pay attention."

The county hopes to start construction in July and have the strips in by the fall.

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