Safety changes are planned for a portion of US 97 in the lower Yakima Valley.
When it comes to making improvements in the Yakima Valley it's all about saving lives. That's why the Washington State Department of Transportation and the Yakama Nation are working together to improve both pedestrian and driver safety along the highway through planning, design and community engagement. One of the things that has come out of the talks about improving safety is a plan for both motorists and pedestrians is to install two roundabouts on the Highway that could reduce serious crashes and fatalities. Construction will start this summer on a roundabout at US 97 at McDonald/Becker road. After that work is complete another roundabout is planned for US 97 and Jones Road.

State officials say more than 20,000 people on average drive the road everyday with some portions being more dangerous than others. Numerous serious crashes and fatalities happen on the road every year.

A press release says "roundabouts are a preferred alternative to standard four-way and stoplight-controlled intersections because they eliminate head on and T-bone collisions, reduce speeds to 20 mph, reduce severity of crashes and reduce conflict points by 75%."

Because of the ongoing pandemic the open house is being held virtually.

For a virtual tour click on the link https://engage.wsdot.wa.gov/us-97-union-gap-to-toppenish-safety-corridor/

Accessing the online open house

For those who wish to participate but do not have broadband service, free WiFi access is available at these Drive-In WiFi Hotspot locations:

  • Wapato High School, 1202 Camas Ave., Wapato
  • Wapato Middle School, 1309 Kateri Ln, Wapato
  • Toppenish Library, 1 South Elm, Toppenish
  • Harrah Schools, 3852 Harrah Rd., Harrah