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Planning Commission OK's six-year road improvement plan

Keeping up with street improvements takes a lot of long-range planning, according to Sunnyside City Engineer Jim Bridges.

Assessing, designing and finding funding for everything from traffic pattern studies to signalization projects requires the city to create a priority list when seeking funding and approval, he explained.

This past Wednesday night, Bridges presented a comprehensive package of 22 separate transportation improvement projects to the Sunnyside Planning Commission for its consideration.

Bridges said his preliminary list of projects are to be included in the city's six-year transportation improvement program.

"I've combined some of the projects into larger more comprehensive projects that will allow for more flexibility when we seek to apply for and administer funds as they become available," Bridges explained.

He said he has also submitted a draft copy to the Washington State Department of Transportation for its review and comments.

The proposed six-year improvement plan received the approval of the Planning Commission. It will now be presented to the Sunnyside City Council for its input at its July 26 meeting, said Mark Kunkler, Sunnyside city attorney.

Last year the city listed 26 individual projects, Bridges told the commissioners. However, due to project consolidations and completions, and in some cases even project reclassifications, several projects have been dropped from the six-year plan, he said.

Among the projects removed from the city's list are projects on Southwest Crescent Avenue, 13th Street, Columbia Avenue, Ninth Street and Yakima Valley Highway, 13th Street and Yakima Valley Highway and the Lincoln Avenue railroad crossing project.

On the 2005-2010 list are a variety of projects, from improvements in pedestrian issues to railroad signal projects. Heading the list are the South First Street reconstruction project, from I-82 to Lincoln Avenue, and the citywide intersection study, Bridges said.

Among the top five projects on the draft plan is the Yakima Valley Highway improvement project from east to west city limits. The Washout Road project from North Avenue to north city limits is number four on the six- year plan.

The Washout Road project calls for widening the rural section of the road to urban standards with curbs, gutters, sidewalks and enclosure of the drainage ditch, to make the area safer for the expected influx of pedestrians when the Sunnyside School District builds its new school in the area, Bridges explained.

No. five on the list is the reconstruction of 16th Street from East Edison Avenue to Yakima Valley Highway. Landscaping, curbs, gutters and sidewalk improvements, as well as piping the open drainage ditch are included in this project.

. Julia Hart can be contacted at

(509) 837-4500, or you can e-mail her at jhart@eaglenewspapers.com

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