New developments have transformed many parts of Selah over the years. "This area, these hay fields are all gone," said Selah Public Works Director Joe Henne. "We now have a Les Schwab, we have Helms Hardware..." That growth added pressure to existing roads and intersections like Southern Avenue and Highway 823. "It's really congested coming from there because you got all the traffic coming out for their morning commute outside of Selah,” said Mike Mesa, who’s lived in Selah for 12-years.

Our news partner KIMA Action News reports that the City Council recently commissioned a study on the intersection and others around town. The report recommends ways to improve traffic flow. "The 30,000 cars a day impact this intersection and the ability for folks that live up this road to come out,” said Henne.

Improving that intersection and a stretch of Southern Road is one of 13 road projects included in the city's transportation improvement program. All of the projects covered in the six-year plan would cost more than 17-million dollars to make critical upgrades in the city.  About 4,000 cars travel the East section of Goodlander Road each day. Between the expansion of Carlon Park and the new development along North Wenas, the city says improving this road is its top priority. The fruit industry would reap the rewards of this $1.5-million project through the increased ease of transporting crops. It will be easier for cars and buses to turn on and off Wenas Road.

As for the intersection of Southern Avenue and 823, the city says nothing has been decided but the key is planning.  "If we're having folks having difficulty getting out now, what's it going to be in another 5 years, or 10 years?" said Henne.  The city will start projects based on priority and move down the list as money becomes available. Selah will hold a public hearing on June 26th during the city council meeting to discuss the projects.

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