Richland looking to slow down drivers on George Washington Way

RICHLAND, Wash. - George Washington Way continues to be one of the most congested areas in the Tri-Cities and the city of Richland is looking to spend millions to fix that.

Joel Rogo has a front row view of one of the most dangerous areas in the Tri-Cities. He owns the Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music that overlooks the spot where Highway 240 ends and George Washington Way begins.

"I think safety is huge, I'm a business that has a lot of very young drivers that come to my school every day," said Tri-Cities Academy of Ballet and Music owner, Joel Rogo.

The intersection is at the top of Richland's priority list, the city plans to lower the speed limit for the on-ramps and off-ramps to Highway 240 and I-182. It would be dropped from 55 miles per hour to 35.

"All that congestion on George Washington way restrains that, if people don't feel comfortable getting there, then promoting it as a place to go won't work," said Public Works Director, Pete Rogalsky.

The city could also add a new intersection right in front of Joel's business, it would add an additional traffic light before you get to the intersection at the golf course. The project will cost nearly $6 million, the city is still working on funding the project. Joel says a new intersection worries him, considering a quarter of his business comes from Pasco.

"I don't want to make it any more difficult for them to get here," said Rogo.

That may not be all, Richland may re-do Columbia Park Trail from the transit center to the new Hanford Reach. They will take a lane out in favor of sidewalks and lighting, a cost of $2 million.

"It's a big deal for the character of the area," said Rogalsky.

Richland staff tell KEPR they will be holding multiple public forums on the potential intersection changes by the end of the year.