Washington State Takes Steps to Improve the US 97 Corridor

Nov. 17, 2022
A new sensor will monitor traffic data to help with improvements to the corridor

In an attempt to understand what improvements need to be made on US 97 in Washington, Yakama Nation is installing the first traffic sensor along the corridor to collect real time data.

One of the glaring reasons this data is necessary is that over the past 10 years, the corridor on US 97 between Union Gap and Toppenish has seen 350 serious injury crashes and 22 fatal crashes.

"The tribe is on a different system than the state and the federal government is, and so we're trying to merge all that together to get a comprehensive view of what's going on," said Hollyanna Littlebull, a Yakama Nation DNR Engineer, in an interview with KimaTV.com.

This intersection of U.S. 97 and Larue Road was picked specifically because of how many fatalities have occurred here.

"This was one of the deadliest roadway intersections that we had," Littlebull said.

It is the deadliest with 7 fatalities over the last 20 years.

The camera will send information to Yakama Nation such as average speed and road conditions which will help them see how dangerous the intersection is.

"Because a lot of things you don't find in a crash report, this thing can do, and so we're wanting to know that type of information," Littlebull said.

The Yakama Nation along with the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) is also planning to put another roundabout there.

"So, in the next coming years you will see a roundabout right here in this intersection. It's funded, it's programmed and it's going to be probably a few years out. We don't have an exact date set yet," said Summer Derrey, a communications officer for WSDOT.

This is the first traffic camera to be installed in the Yakama Nation. Officials say they want to install at least 10 more at other intersections to be able to get data to improve traffic flow and safety.


Source: Kimatv.com