Yakima corridor safety project underway

YAKIMA, Wash. -- A project aimed to improve safety in Yakima is underway.

It's called the First and Nob Hill Corridor Safety Project. The goal is to reduce the number of serious injuries and deaths from collisions.

You've probably traveled on one of these busy streets before. In fact, up to 26,000 cars travel on First Street, Main Street and Nob Hill Boulevard every day.

"To me, it's one of the busiest streets in Yakima, and I've been working here about two years, and I've seen many accidents," said Yakima driver Hugo Trevino.

Crews in Yakima are making safety improvements along the First Street corridor. The project covers six miles of roadway from U.S. 12 to U.S. 97, as well as fixing up Nob Hill Boulevard from I-82 to 64th Avenue.

Improvements will include installing countdown pedestrian signal heads, median curbs, "Prepare to Stop When Flashing" signal systems, speed radar signs and bigger traffic signals, along with upgrading ADA ramps and sidewalk sections.

"I think that the stoplights being bigger will help people prevent accidents," said driver Cody Cox.

"I think a speed radar would be nice, actually, or 'Prepare to Stop,'" said Hugo. "We don't really see that around here."

Engineers have started on designs for the project. The price tag is almost $400,000. It's funded by a federal grant.

"I haven't really seen any upgrades with the lights, with the signs, nothing," said Hugo. "So I think it's great."

Most crashes on these corridors are caused by distracted drivers, failing to yield, or following too closely.

Officials said they expect to put bids out late spring. Construction is scheduled to be completed late this year.