Pasco set to approve six-year transportation plan

PASCO, Wash. -- Most people are familiar with Pasco's plans to re-engineer Road 68, but the city is spending almost $9 million on other traffic projects around town next year. Pasco is set to approve its six-year transportation plan.

Sharon Matson works at the Lowe's on Road 68. She says her commute has gotten progressively worse over the last five years.

"Getting out of work right now, traffic is pretty bad," she said. "It can take five to seven minutes to get out of the parking lot."

But the several million dollars Pasco will spend fixing that traffic bottleneck pales in comparison to what they have in the works.

The stretch of Argent Road between CBC and Road 40 has seen its own substantial increase in traffic. As such, the city is spending almost $2 million on adding extra lanes. And it's not the only project they have coming up.

Starting at the end of this year, the city is tackling Sandifur Parkway as well. Adding two lanes between Convention Place and Road 68 will cost almost $500,000. Pasco has similar plans for Oregon Avenue between the freeway and A Street. A state grant will cover the majority of the $2.5 million dollar improvement project.

Sharon says she likes the idea of all the projects, but, like many other people I spoke with, she worries about how construction will impact drivers.

"Going through the construction, I can definitely see it's going to be an issue," she said. "After it's done, I'm sure it'll be beautiful, but it's the right here and now that's going to be a little scary."

All told, there are more than a dozen traffic projects that will eat up almost $10 million of state and local money starting next year. Sharon wonders if tackling so many projects at once is the best idea for the city.

"Maybe let some things go for another year or so or two, not do everything in one shot," she said.

But Pasco is ready to move forward on these projects and others, just as soon as they can get to them.

A public comment on the plan is scheduled for next Monday during the city council meeting. According to the transportation plan, Pasco is slated to begin construction on the $20 million Lewis Street Overpass project in 2020.