Yakima County spending millions on road and bridge projects

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- Streets and bridges from Zillah to Tieton will get a facelift this year. Yakima County will spend millions of dollars to do it. Some roads will be closed during the work. KIMA learned how much it will cost and how long it could take.

A steep road, a tight curve: a stretch of Naches-Tieton Road some call treacherous.

Travis Huff knows it firsthand. He drives up the hill to visit his grandparents.

"Just having a narrow road with all these trucks going back and forth down the road is just a bad idea," he said.

That's why the county is widening the road, resurfacing it and adding a truck lane.

Engineers say the work should be done next week. Federal money paid for most of the $5.5 million price tag. The county covered the rest.

It's one of several projects set for this year.

Crews will install traffic lights and new curbs at the intersection of Terrace Heights Drive and Butterfield Road. There are no signals now. The price tag: $200,000.

The county, federal government and Bureau of Indian Affairs will share the $6.5 million cost to replace an old bridge off of I-82 in Zillah. The bridge structure isn't up to current codes, which is why the county has imposed weight restrictions. Yakima County is waiting for approval from the Bureau of Indian Affairs before demolition begins.

The Pioneer Bridge, by Cowiche Mill Road and Pioneer Way, will also be demolished and rebuilt to modern standards. That will cost $1 million using local, state and federal funds.

A stretch of the Yakima Valley Highway in Buena will also get help. Steve Diaz drives it every now and then.

"Got a lot of ruts from semis and stuff like that tearing up the pavement," he said.

$2 million will be used to widen and resurface the highway halfway to Konnowac Pass Road.

All of this work will force some roads to close. Steve doesn't mind.

"If it's going to make it better, of course," he said.

That's the idea.

There will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the refurbished stretch of Naches-Tieton Road on May 29.