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Breaking ground for Duportail Bridge Project gets mixed reaction from neighbors

Breaking ground for Duportail Bridge Project gets mixed reaction from neighbors

RICHLAND, Wash. — The City of Richland's plans for the Duportail Bridge Project are now under way.

And while nobody told Action News they're excited to spend an extra $20 on their car tag to fund it, other reactions to the project are fairly mixed.

Richland Fire Chief Tom Huntington said area First Responders are excited about the bridge.

"This is a key piece of the whole community's growth and a really-really important piece for public safety across the board, police and fire," he said.

The chief told Action News plans for the bridge is why they build Station 74 where it is.

"This bridge opens up the ability to go back and forth," Huntington explained. "So the downtown stations can respond out here more effectively, and this station can respond into town more effectively. "

But while Huntington's excited for improved response-times, neighbors across the street from the firehouse said they're worried about a different kind of wait-time.

"I'm concerned about the construction," said The Hills Mobile Home Community's Assistant Manager Jim Barriball. "Right now, its virtually impossible to make a left-hand turn out of the front entrance of our development."

He said he's worried about the increased traffic and hassle getting in and out while the bridge and sound barrier wall are being built.

"I mean we're going to be an island. Ain't no way in or out, that's what we're afraid of," Barriball said, before adding that he doesn't mind the extra tax. "I'm all for the bridge," he clarified. "I'm just concerned that they might take our little development of 279 houses for granted."

Barriball is more optimistic than Kennewick resident David Spiel who said Richland is wasting money.

"They've already spent millions of dollars re-doing Queensgate two or three times now," said Spiel. "You're still going to have the bottle-neck of people leaving Keene to exit and go to Richland, everything backing up at the light."

Meanwhile, Barriball said he's trying to reassure his neighbors that his team is making sure the transition around them goes as smoothly as possible.

The City of Richland said the project will be finished in 2020, and Chief Huntington said it can't get done soon enough because the city keeps expanding and the bridge is key to improving response-times for first-responders all over Richland.

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