GRANDVIEW - Driving down Grandview's main thoroughfares has proven to be much like an obstacle course in recent weeks as the city prepares to put in three new traffic signals.
For the past month, drivers have seen asphalt broken up, sidewalks closed and large holes dug in the side of the road, all in preparation for the installation of the new signals.
Grandview Public Works Director Cus Arteaga explained that the city is working to install new traffic signals at the intersections of Elm Street and Wine Country Road, Wine Country Road and Wilson Highway, and Grandridge Road and West Second Street. The estimated cost of the entire project is more than $456,000.
Arteaga said the project is being funded through the Transportation Improvement Board, the Washington State Department of Transportation and the city.
Arteaga explained that funding for the Wine Country Road, Wilson Highway intersection was provided through the Transportation Improvement Board because of a lower then expected bid received to improve Wine Country Road from Euclid Street to Grandridge, a project that took place three years ago.
According to Arteaga, when the Wine County Road improvement project was taking place the city received the low construction bid, which lowered the cost of the entire project. He said it the combination of the construction bid and the fact that the city was not required to rebuild a train overpass that intersected the road near Dairy Queen that ended up saving the city money.
Arteaga said once the road improvement project was complete, and it was obvious that the city had come in under budget, the Transportation Improvement Board approved using the leftover funds to improve the intersection at Wine County Road and Wilson Highway.
Arteaga said the new signal is being placed at the intersection of Elm Street and Wine Country Road, near Safeway, because of the increase in traffic the intersection has seen. He added that there have also been several serious car accidents that have occurred at the intersection.
As for the intersection of West Second Street and Grandridge, Arteaga said the city applied to the Transportation Improvement Board's emergency funding program. The installation of a new signal at that intersection was considered an emergency because the signal that used to be at the site was knocked down in a semi-truck accident last year.
Arteaga said each of the three intersections will receive the same type of signal. Instead of using wooden posts and stringing signal lights over the intersection using wires, the city is putting in state-of-the-art steel post signals. The new signal lights are much like the signals that have been placed along Wine Country Road at the west entrance to Grandview.
But receiving a new traffic signal is just part of the change drivers will see at the intersection of Wilson Highway and Wine Country Road. Arteaga explained that the intersection is also being widened to give semi-trucks a larger turning radius when turning from Grandridge Road, east onto Wine Country Road. Arteaga said the city purchased additional right-of-way from the owner of Lucky Seven to make the widening possible.
Arteaga said there have been some benefits to doing work on three intersections at the same time, including getting better bids from contractors because of the amount of work to be done.
The only downside of the project is working on three intersections within six blocks of each other has made driving through town a bit of a challenge.
"Having three intersections so close together has been an inconvenience for our drivers, but the end result is going to be a real benefit for the community," Arteaga said.
Arteaga said construction on the three projects is due to be completed by the end of August.