The City of Richland intends to address the traffic concerns on Queensgate Drive near the I-182 interchange in phases over the next year. In 2015 the City completed a planning study aimed at congestion relief.
A public outreach effort drew strong interest from the community and provided valuable input to the City’s planning process.
Queensgate Corridor Study
The Queensgate Corridor Study, completed by JUB Engineers in January 2015, provided the background analysis for the City’s process. The study contains extensive information and the file size is relatively large.
The City controls three of the corridor intersections (Columbia Park Trail, Keene Road, and Shockley Road. WSDOT regulates the fourth intersection, near the on/off ramps of I-182.
WSDOT has allowed the City to post their concept for a roundabout at their intersection. The image is a design concept and includes, in orange, the temporary detour plans.
Queensgate Corridor Construction Plan
Currently, the Queensgate Corridor has been divided into three separate segments:
I-182/Queensgate Drive Ramp Terminal Improvements
This project will replace the existing signalized intersection at the eastbound ramp terminals on I-182 at Queensgate Drive with the roundabout that was identified during the corridor study process. This project is currently funded with City provided funding. The City and WSDOT have an agreement in place for WSDOT to design and construct the project since it is mostly within their jurisdiction. The project is scheduled to begin construction in the spring of 2018.
Queensgate Drive/Columbia Park Trail Improvements
This project will construct a roundabout at the Queensgate Drive/Columbia Park Trail intersection and extend Columbia Park Trail to the west, connecting to Jericho Court. The project will also widen Queensgate Drive between Keene Road and the eastbound I-182 ramp terminals to four lanes (two lanes each way) and will construct a new westbound right turn lane on Keene Road. Access control will be addressed during this project that will restrict accesses on Queensgate Drive between Keene Road and Jericho Road, including Jericho Road, to right-in, right-out only.
Design for this portion of the project has begun and the project will be a City designed and constructed project. It is anticipated that construction will begin in early 2018.
Queensgate Drive Extension
This portion of the corridor will extend Queensgate Drive south from Keene Road to connect with the existing segment of Queensgate Drive at Shockley Road. The project will provide access to developments proposed on both sides of Queensgate Drive south of Keene Road.
The timing of the construction of this portion of Queensgate Drive is dependent upon the developer of the adjacent property. The roadway itself will be constructed as part of the development.
Why did the City conduct this study?
Congestion at the I-182 ramp intersection is a key concern for the City. In addition, the long-standing plan to extend Queensgate south of Keene Road to Shockley Road required some planning work to address the design of the Keene Road/Queensgate intersection modifications, along with determining how many lanes would be needed on Queensgate.
What are the options?
There are four intersections called out in the study, three under the City’s control and the other under the Washington State Department of Transportation’s (WSDOT). The City and WSDOT determined the configuration of the intersections, choosing between signalized or roundabout intersections.
What happens when the Duportail Bridge is built?
The Queensgate Corridor Study was commissioned with the understanding that the Duportail Bridge will be built. The improvements recommended in the study for the City-controlled segments of Queensgate are intended to be a full plan to accommodate future growth. The changes to the I-182 interchange intersections are intended to be near-term upgrades, that when combined with the Duportail Bridge, will provide satisfactory performance for the next fifteen years or more. Completion of the Duportail Bridge remains vital to achieve satisfactory traffic performance in this area.
Does this accommodate for growth?
Yes, the plan addresses current and future growth.
Where is the major traffic problem?
At the eastbound I-182 ramps intersection with Queensgate. This intersection is where the vast majority of congestion in the area originates. The westbound I-182 ramps and Columbia Park Trail also experience poor performance.
How does this impact the businesses in the area?
There are several businesses that may be impacted along this corridor. Increased traffic volumes in this relatively short segment of road, when combined with left turning movements into driveways, can increase accidents and congestion. It may be beneficial to restrict accesses to right-in, right-out on Queensgate Drive between Keene Road and Columbia Park Trail, including Jericho Road. Left turns may also be restricted at Jericho Road.
Why is the City considering eliminating left turn capability for a portion of Queensgate?
Restricting the driveway accesses to right-in, right-out along Queensgate Drive between Keene Road and Columbia Park Trail can improve traffic flow and safety along this corridor. The large volume of traffic, speed, and number of lanes can all contribute to an increase in both the number and severity of accidents when motorists are trying to turn left out of driveways.
Does the choice of intersection type relate to the restriction of left turns?
Yes. Roundabout intersections provide a built-in U-turn capability that reduces the inconvenience of restricting left turning movements. Roundabouts, in general, also are more efficient at moving higher volumes of traffic.
What is the timeline?
The first improvement, the northbound left turn lane at the westbound I-182 on-ramp, was completed in 2016. The roundabout intersection at the I-182 eastbound ramps is scheduled for 2017 construction, likely to begin in early summer. The remaining elements, between Keene Road and Columbia Park Trail, may begin construction in late 2017, with completion anticipated in 2018.