DOT study reveals new lanes for US 395

KENNEWICK, PASCO - It's one of the busiest corridors in the Tri-Cities. Almost 40,000 drivers go up and down around our main stretch of Highway 395 every day. KEPR learned DOT is getting ready to roll out new construction plans on the portion between I-82 and I-182.

It's the long stretch of road that carries thousands of semi's, out-of-towners and local vehicles every day.

Any local here will tell you Highway 395 gets hectic.

"I come off of 240 and up this way by 395 and it's always jammed," said local driver Dawn Matlock.

"The traffic can get really bad during rush hour," said local driver Miguel Martinez.

Miguel Martinez drives 395 every day for work. He hopes the state will roll out improvements for future growth.

"I think it would be good for the city. The city's getting bigger," added Martinez.

It's exactly what DOT has closely studied for almost four years. The agency focused on the stretch between I-82 and I-182 in Pasco. Brainstorming ideas to present to state headquarters.

"Transportation follows real closely the economic development activities," said Benton-Franklin Council of Government Transportation Director Mark Kushner.

Mark Kushner works for the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments. He's worked directly with DOT to develop a long-term plan for 395. Mark says most of the proposed changes focus on Southridge.

"We've had a lot of projects that have to deal and accommodate the new growth that occurs," explained Kushner.

DOT hopes to add extra turn lanes along 395 near the south area.

One additional lane in each direction is included in the plan. It's in place of more costly projects like a roundabout. That was considered for the new street south of Hildebrand.

Interchanges were also thrown out the window. DOT says 15 million dollars is better spent otherwise.

It's a goal to keep traffic flowing freely in this ever-growing area.

"I think it'll be worth it in the long run," said Martinez.

These plans are long-term projects - upwards of 20-years out. But they need to have the vision now to also secure the money.