Friday, October 28, 2011

Meeting today’s transportation needs

By guest blogger Summer Derrey

State Route 22, located south of Yakima,
connects I-82 to US 97 through rural Toppenish
Narrow rural highways don’t meet today’s safety standards and tomorrow’s driver expectations. That’s why our engineers saw the need to make improvements to State Route 22 through Toppenish. Forty-seven collisions occurred along this mile and a half corridor since 2005.

This summer and fall, our contractor was busy enhancing the corridor as part of the $4.63 million SR 22 – I-82 to Toppenish – Safety Improvement project. Crews widened the shoulders from one foot to four feet. A wider highway gives drivers who stray from their lane due to inattention or other reasons, a better chance of recovering control and getting back on the right path without damage or injury.

Crews also decreased the risk of collisions by adding guardrail, signs and striping. Since SR 22 passes through the city limits of Toppenish, the project includes upgraded pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and ramps to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Crews constructed left and right turn lanes at two major intersections where the posted speed limit is 50 miles per hour – this will help reduce rear-end and enter-at-angle crashes.

Now, all that’s left to do next spring when the weather is warmer is place the final layer of asphalt on the roadway and install permanent striping; this will make a better corridor for drivers, pedestrians and bicycle-riders.

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