Unique traffic solution for Richland

RICHLAND, Wash. -- It's hard to move around the Tri-Cities without going through a roundabout.

There are some with just one lane, a few with two lanes, some in neighborhoods, and even a double roundabout before you get on the highway.

They're popular with traffic engineers because they cut down on the kind of T-bone accidents that are so dangerous.

"Just seems to be a traffic pattern that's been embraced by the Tri-Cities, but it's really foreign to a lot of people," said Beth Perry.

She doesn't mind driving through them, but she may be one of the very few.

"Oh my gosh! It's like that for many people that I know," she said. "I feel lucky to get through them."

There's a new roundabout on the way for Richland, just south of the one already in place at the Richland Wye. It will go in just as soon as the chunk of land to the right of Tapteal Drive is sold and development gets going.

With the other one just a short distance away, it may be hard to envision where this one will go.

It'll go right near the train tracks just off Steptoe. The roundabout design is so unique, there's only one like it in the country. The railroad tracks go right through the center.

The west end of Tapteal will be realigned to meet up with the railroad tracks. The roundabout will be added there. Tapteal may be extended to run parallel to Steptoe, ending at Columbia Park Trail near the RV park.

By having train tracks on the spokes of the roundabout, the road will have crossing gates to lower when a trail goes through.

A developer has already paid for the study and design work.

"It's not going to make it any better, it's not going to make it any worse, it's just a solution," said Beth.

A solution as the south end of Richland keeps growing.

This isn't so far off in the future. Construction may begin as soon as the end of next year.