Photo by Laura Gjovaag
Work is already started on the repaving of Yakima Valley Highway from the McDonald’s to the intersection with 16th Street. Tomorrow (Thursday) the section of road between Edison Avenue and Morgan Road will be closed to all traffic while the road is prepared for new pavement. That section of road will also be closed next Tuesday when the road is paved.
As of Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Travel on Yakima Valley Highway is about to slow down as summer construction projects get underway along the roadway, including a repaving project that will close off the highway in front of the Mid Valley Mall entirely for two days in the next two weeks.
Yakima Valley Highway between Edison Avenue and Morgan Road, the entire portion of the highway in front of the mall, will be closed tomorrow, May 29, from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and next Tuesday, June 3, from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Starting today, the road repaving project of Yakima Valley Highway from the Sunnyside McDonald’s to Morgan Road will be underway. The project should take about two weeks to complete, according to Public Works Director Shane Fisher.
However, another project on Yakima Valley Highway will take longer to complete. The intersection with 16th Street is being upgraded with new infrastructure, lights and pavement. This project is expected to be finished by Nov. 14, 2014.
For the duration of the construction, drivers can expect delays, rough roadways and single lane traffic. The speed on Yakima Valley Highway has also been reduced from 35 miles per hour to 25 miles per hour near the construction zone.
Fisher said that the original repaving plan did not call for the closure of the highway. However, after meeting with the contractor yesterday (Tuesday) morning, it was determined that the channel of roadway between Edison Avenue and Morgan Road is too narrow to safely allow traffic on it while grinding down the old road surface or repaving that section.
“Those grinders throw a lot of rock when they’re grinding the asphalt,” said Fisher. “Somebody’s windshield is going to get busted out.”
Tomorrow the road will be closed and the contractors will grind down the roadway in preparation for new paving to be installed. Next Tuesday the road will be closed to repave that section.
“With the curve on the one side and the deep bar ditch on the Bleyhl’s side of it, it just made a little more sense to close it down,” said Fisher. “If we don’t, we may end up going into next week grinding, which means we’re going to lose our slot for pavement. So we’re kind of up against it.”
Fisher said the city was unaware of the problem until the meeting with the contractor. He also said that overnight grinding was not a possibility because the city had not planned for the extra safety equipment that would be needed.