In today's world with a stressed electorate and tight local budgets creates a difficult environment to improve the quality of life in Yakima. The last 8 years I've been on the city council we have been struggling with the challenge of fixing our streets while combating the gang and crime issue in Yakima.

We had a number of ideas to pay for a major grind and overlay of our most heavily traveled streets. Typically voters have approved a street bond to repair our roads, but the last bond failed and the Council decided against asking voters to approve a car tab increase.

What we did do is take 2 million dollars from our existing budget and begin to make much needed improvements to our roads. In fact voters approved a charter change that forces the Council to allocate 2 million dollars a year to grind and overlay projects.

What's funny is people complain about the condition of the our streets and ask us to fix them. When we do we get complaint calls about all the construction and how disrupting it is, even though it's temporary. You just can't win! The good news is that a lot of much needed improvements will be made and end up saving voters money in the long run. We did try and publizce the projects and the list is on the homepage of the city website.

Work on the City of Yakima’s ongoing grind and overlay project will impact traffic from September 23rd through September 27th on 16th Avenue and 40th Avenue as well as roads in the surrounding areas.

Beginning on the evening of Monday, September 23rd and lasting through the morning of Friday, September 27th, significant activity along 40th Avenue from Nob Hill Boulevard to Summitview will make overnight traffic on that section of 40th Avenue challenging. Traffic revisions will be in place along 40th Avenue from 8:00 pm each evening through 6:00 am the following day while final paving is completed. Different lanes of 40th Avenue will be paved throughout the week. As paving progresses each evening, no eastbound or westbound traffic between Nob Hill and Summitview will be allowed to cross hot pavement on 40th Avenue. Drivers attempting to cross 40th Avenue between Nob Hill and Summitview will experience delays. Only local traffic will be allowed to travel northbound and southbound on 40th Avenue while the paving project is underway. Drivers are encouraged to find alternate routes.

The intersection of 40th Avenue and Summitview Avenue will be completely closed beginning at 8:00 pm on Thursday, September 26th until 6:00 am on Friday, September 27th while the intersection is repaved. Detours will be available, but drivers are encouraged to find alternate routes.

Striping and utility work will result in lane restrictions on 16th Avenue between Englewood Avenue and River Road beginning at 8:00 pm on Monday, September 23rd until 6:00 am on Tuesday, September 24th, again on Tuesday at 8:00 pm until 6:00 am on Wednesday September 25th, and finally from Wednesday at 8:00 pm until Thursday, September 26th at 6:00 am.

Access to homes and businesses in the project areas will be maintained as best as possible and emergency vehicles will be allowed through the project areas if necessary.

As always, the schedule for these types of projects is subject to change daily dependent on weather, equipment failure, and emergencies.

The City has been working on the $5 million grind and overlay project throughout the summer in order to recondition roadway sections in different parts of Yakima. A grind and overlay project involves removing old and deteriorated asphalt and replacing it with new asphalt, which significantly improves the drivability and safety of the road surface. Most of the work on the grind and overlay project is being conducted overnight to minimize impacts to traffic.

For additional information regarding this week’s grind and overlay project activity, contact Senior Engineer Bob Desgrosellier at 575-6228.