Construction slows down traffic near Tieton Cowiche Grade

NACHES, Wash. - It's slow going for drivers around the Tieton-Cowiche Grade. Crews are there doing extensive road and bridge work. Some stretches will be twice as large as they are now.

The area around South Naches Road is being torn up. Harvy Mitchell is quietly observing all this digging, grading and traffic.

"It doesn't bother me," said Mitchell. "I'll just sit here and watch them."

His house sits right in front of a bridge that carries cars across the Naches River. It's now being replaced with a new one more than twice the size.

"Well, it's an absolute improvement; you know the trucks going around these corners and stuff they even get hung up all the time here," said Mitchell.

Mitchell has lived here for more than 30 years and has seen his share of close calls.

"You almost get run off the road every time you try to go this way," he said. "It's so narrow and no shoulders. You can go straight off right there."

That's all about to change. The county is widening the road and shoulders to give plenty of room for drivers and bikers.

One of the biggest changes is at the bottom of the Naches Tieton Grade. A brand new road is supposed to make the flow of traffic coming down from the grade much better. It's in the early stages, but the work should be finished in May.

The total cost of the work runs about $1.3 million. Some of it is coming from the federal government.