Welcome to the gateway of the regional transportation improvement projects for the City of Yakima and Terrace Heights where you can find project information, development updates, and provide feedback.
The projects discussed here are part of the region-wide comprehensive transportation improvement goals for Yakima County. They will improve connectivity, accessibility, traffic mobility, and the economy in the vicinity of the City of Yakima and the neighborhood of Terrace Heights. Improvements to the transportation network are desperately needed due to the high rates of projected population growth over the next 20 years.
The Yakima River poses a natural barrier to travel between the City of Yakima and the Terrace Heights neighborhood. The Yakima Avenue/Terrace Heights Drive corridor is currently the only east-west route between these urban areas. As population growth continues, congestion and delays will increase along this corridor and a alternative connection is needed. Growth in the area will also include the long-awaited development at the old Cascade mill site at the northeast corner of the City. Planned development at this site necessitates construction of a better local access network as well as connections to I-82.
Currently, two major projects have been identified within the City of Yakima and the Terrace Heights neighborhood. They will ultimately reduce the heavy traffic congestion within the city and on I-82 and provide a new east-west link over the Yakima River. The only crossing in the area is at East Yakima Avenue which, due to increasing growth of the area, experiences heavy traffic and congestion. These projects will provide an alternative crossing and invite development in the region.
After further review and input from County Commissioners, three of the alternatives were eliminated and the Lowlands alignment was chosen as the preferred alignment for the East-West Corridor. A 2012 Berger Abam supplemental report was prepared to further refine the Lowlands alignment and provide a modified alignment based on comments received during the Board of County Commissioners public hearing. This report can be found on this website under the “Library” page. The modified alignment was selected since it has less impacts to the Yakima River, is more compatible with non-motorized uses, fewer impacts on developed properties, not as many segments of road with steep grade, and a shorter overall construction time frame. The 2011 and 2012 Alignment Studies are available in the library.
Discussions of an alternative crossing over the Yakima River has been ongoing for many years. Studies for the East-West Corridor project began in 2001 with a Terrace Heights Corridor Study completed by Harding ESE, Inc. This initial study only examined two alignments. Following the 2001 study, a 2011 report was conducted by Berger Abam. The 2011 report examined four detailed alternative alignments based off of the initial study. These alignments were: Ridge Top, Rest Haven Bench, Ridge Base, and Lowlands.