- FHWA has granted a finding of engineering and operational acceptability for the Interchange Justification Report in July 2012.
- In Winter 2013 WSDOT began the 30% design and begin the project environmental review process.
- WSDOT will continue to look at and develop other alternatives to maximize our options for a final design.
Why is WSDOT
Improving this interchange?
The South Union Gap interchange, along with the Valley Mall Blvd. interchange, serves a growing retail and commercial area in Union Gap and southwest Yakima. The area is experiencing increasingly heavy traffic congestion. The South Union Gap Interchange is incomplete. The lack of connections to existing I-82 and US 97 is forcing additional traffic to use the already congested Valley Mall Boulevard interchange.
Reconstructing this essential service interchange to connect to I-82 and US 97 will provide a direct route to the Yakima Regional Airport. This project was endorsed by a coalition of Yakima area elected officials, business and community leaders, and WSDOT as one of three top regional transportation priority projects in the Yakima area.
The improvements planned for the South Union Gap interchange will accomodate a direct link to the proposed Beltway Connector, which will provide direct access to I-82 from southwestern Yakima.
This project is in the early stages of planning and development. Local city, county, and WSDOT officials are planning collaboratively with area business owners to bring about this much needed improvement. A public meeting was held in March 2003 to request public opinion regarding several conceptual design options.
The End Result
Two additional ramps will be constructed at the South Union Gap interchange to provide the missing westbound on-ramp from Union Gap to I-82, and the eastbound off-ramp from I-82 to Union Gap. The reconstructed interchange will accomodate a direct connection to the proposed east-west Beltway Connector, and reduce the number of vehicles using the Valley Mall Boulevard interchange. Improved connections to I-82 will promote economic growth and development for the cities of Union Gap and Yakima.
- Economic Vitality. Local community and business leaders targeted improving this interchange and the Valley Mall Blvd interchange as top priorities for economic growth and vitality. Improved freeway access will open up new areas for development and ease congestion for the existing areas.
- Safety. Improving capacity for the interchanges and providing more efficient connections to the local road system will improve traffic flow, lessen conflicts, and improve safety for this busy area.
What is the project timeline?
Only a portion of the design work is funded through a 2004 Federal Earmark. If all needed funding was made available now, construction could start in 2015 with the improvements open to traffic in 2017.
Project signage will reflect the cost of construction engineering, project bid award and sales tax.
Limited funds from a 2004 federal earmark and additional funds from the latest reathorization of the Federal Transportation bill, (SAFETEA-LU) will fund a portion of the design work.
This project is funded through the following sources:
- Federal Funding
Existing Federal - $3.03 million
- State Funding
Existing Funds - $0.12 million
- Estimated total project cost (design, right of way, construction) - $80 - $100 million
Total funding available from all sources: $3.15 million
How can I get more information?
Julie Heilman - Suarez, WSDOT Project Engineer
WSDOT South Central Project Office
2809 Rudkin Rd.
Union Gap, WA 98903
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