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County makes road safety improvements

YAKIMA - Changes are coming to roadways in Yakima County. The safety measures approved Tuesday, Nov. 15, by county commissioners will extend to some Lower Valley areas.

Rumble strips will be installed at SR-241 crossings at Edison Avenue as well as Sheller and Factory Roads. County transportation administrator Gary Ekstedt noted that stop sign warnings will be painted on the roads just before the intersections.

"There have been stop signs there all along, it's just that people have been ignoring them," Ekstedt said of the need for rumble strips reminding motorists to stop.

Another improvement authorized on Tuesday was installation of an adverse weather monitoring system.

Ekstedt said the county previously sent workers out at 2 or 3 a.m. to scout out snow or ice trouble spots.

"It was a windshield forecast but it was two or three hours too late for most areas," he said.

The new weather stations, the latest in an ongoing project by the county, will be placed in the White Swan and Tampico areas. In the Lower Valley, a station will be placed east of Sunnyside at the SR-241/SR-24 intersection.

The forecast system will predict snow or ice incidents several hours in advance for each roadway, providing time for county crews to react. In addition, winter road conditions will be monitored on-line.

A future county improvement at the intersection of Washout Road and Independence Road was tabled by commissioners on Tuesday, pending selection of the lowest bid to complete the project.

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