Road improvements coming to Yakima in 2014

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A busy intersection on the west side of Yakima will get a lot of attention next year. A million dollars worth of work will be done there. And, another million down the street. Some of it has to do with Wal-Mart.

Cars whiz by the corner of 64th Avenue and Tieton Drive in three different directions.

When the traffic's not so bad, turning left is doable. But, forget it come rush hour.

"There can be three, four cars lined up to make that turn," says Yakima driver, Lawrence Nolte.

That's why Yakima is making some changes. Workers will install a traffic light and a left turn lane heading westbound on Tieton. They will also widen 64th Avenue between Tieton and Nob Hill Bouelvard. A curb and sidewalk will be added to each side.

The price tag? About $2 million, paid for by federal and state grants.
And, $400,000 from Wal-Mart. That's because the store sits just around the corner from Nob Hill and 64th. And, it benefits from the changes.

There will also be smaller projects along the Nob Hill and 1st Street/Main Street corridors. They include updating traffic signals at Main and Ahtanum Road in Union Gap. New sidewalks and lights will go in as well as timed countdowns for pedestrians at traffic signals. Federal money will pay for this.

Ivan Berber is a sales and service associate at Azteca Tires & Wheels on Main Street.

"I'm pretty sure it's a pretty good idea because if we fix the streets, the sidewalks, it's going to bring more people. There's going to be more businesses that are doing better."

Money spent in a city with streets that need a helping hand.

The projects should be finished by the end of next year.