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Summer-long road work on Queensgate and Keene begins

Summer-long road work on Queensgate and Keene begins

RICHLAND, Wash. – Construction on the Queensgate Drive Improvement projects start this week.

The Queensgate Drive Improvement projects are in partnership with the City of Richland, Washington State Department of Transportation, and Benton County.

Two contractors, Culbert Construction and Central Washington Asphalt, have been hired to complete the improvements to Queensgate Drive from Keene Road to Columbia Park Trail, as well as construction of two roundabouts, one at Columbia Park Trail, and the other at the eastbound on-ramp to I-182.

Local business owners in the area said they aren't looking forward to the mayhem.

"We're going to be stuck with poor access to our property," said Brian Keele, owner of Queensgate Gardens. "I just hope our customers keep coming, but we'll make it through it."

Keele stresses that he’ll be open throughout the duration of the road work.

Richland city officials said they are working diligently to make sure drivers will be able to access neighboring businesses throughout the construction.

"We will encourage people to come in and support our local business," said Julie West, transportation and development manager for Richland.

The project can be broken up into three parts:

  1. Step One: The city will be widening Keene Rd. and adding a right turn lane onto Queensgate. Plus, they'll add additional traffic lanes in each direction on Queensgate.
  2. Step Two: The city is building a roundabout at Columbia Park Trail and extending Columbia Park Trail to the west and connect it to Jericho Ct. The work will start in late May and early June.
  3. Step Three: WSDOT is taking out the stop light at the I-182 ramp terminal and building a roundabout in its place.

The WSDOT wants to relieve traffic at the heavily congested stop lights.

"We're talking 28,000 cars go through this intersection a day," said Michael Adams, assistant project engineer with WSDOT Tri-Cities.

WSDOT engineers said the roundabout will help drivers avoid coming to a stop and it will allow drivers to turn right and left onto the on ramps simultaneously.

"It will take away the conflicts that actually back traffic up quite a bit," Adams said.

Mark your calendars for the weekend of May 18 - May 21 because WSDOT is closing the I-182 ramp from Friday at 8 p.m. to Monday at 5 a.m.

During the closure, WSDOT is building detours on Queensgate for commuters for the duration of the project.

"If people can find an alternate route that weekend, it will be better for everyone," Adams said.

That weekend, there will be a detour set up on Columbia Park Trail to the roundabout at Steptoe. However, that will create congestion in that traffic circle as well.

City officials anticipate the Queensgate improvement projects will be done in August 2018.

"Commuters are going to find that traffic is going to flow at a much steadier pace through the corridor," West said.

Traffic flow will be reduced during construction, but you will see a significant decrease in congestion when the project is complete.

WSDOT and the city planned most of their construction work at night to keep traffic moving through the corridor.

However, the contractor can choose to close roads at night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Keep an eye out for our news updates regarding Queensgate construction closures this summer.

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