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SR 17 paving work starts Wednesday

Mar. 29—MOSES LAKE — Construction will begin Wednesday on resurfacing a seven-mile section of state Route 17 through Moses Lake. Construction crews will be working from 8 p.m. through 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, and drivers should plan for delays during working hours.

Traffic will be controlled by flaggers, and there will be one lane open throughout the project.

Sebastian Moraga, public information officer with the Washington Department of Transportation, wrote in a press release the project is scheduled to last 70 working days and should be completed in July.

Along with resurfacing the road, crews will be replacing sidewalk ramps at intersections along that stretch of road, and that's where the project will start. Crews will be replacing sidewalk ramps at South Pioneer Way, East Nelson Road, East Broadway Avenue, East Wheeler Road and North Stratford Road. Moraga said there will be intermittent pedestrian detours while that work is underway.

"There will also be right lane and shoulder closures during working hours," he wrote.

The project was scheduled for 2023, but was pushed back a year because the DOT had a substantial number of projects last year. Project Engineer Jeff Deal said in an earlier interview that delaying the project allows it to start earlier in the year and is a more efficient use of resources

The project zone includes the entire four-lane section through Moses Lake, starting north of town near the intersection with Patton Boulevard and ending near the intersection with Interstate 90 to the south.

Deal said that working at night will be safer for work crews and drivers on the road.

"That is a big factor. The impacts we're going to have going through town make this job — I wouldn't say impossible to do during the day, but it would be much more impactful to the public if we went during the day. Plus, that many cars going by our work crews — it's just safer for our work crews," Deal said.

Paving crews will remove and replace the road surface, about the top two inches.

"Not taking care of this stretch of road will lead to further deterioration, which in turn will cost more money to fix," according to project information on the WSDOT website.

Crews will repave the on and off ramps at the I-90 and Stratford Road intersections as part of the project. Those sections of SR 17 will be closed for that work, but there will be detours while that paving is underway.

"We're not taking the ability to travel on (SR) 17. It'll just be a little bit slower," he said. "We're going to maintain traffic on the route as much as we can."

A plan to extend Yonezawa Boulevard past its current intersection has been under discussion for a few years, and when it happens, the traffic light at SR 17 will be replaced with a roundabout. Deal said crews will be doing some work at that intersection, because the pavement is in poor condition.

"I think the pavement in that area is deteriorating bad enough that, even if they come back in a couple of years and (build a roundabout), we're going to want to pave it," he said. "We're going to go essentially from edge line to edge line. We're not going to upgrade any of the ADA ramps, we're exempting that intersection because of the plan, but we're still going to touch the surface. Jost to make sure all those potholes get filled."

The roundabout at SR 17 and Grape Drive, built in 2022, is still in good condition, so crews will repave the road up to the intersection, skip it, and pick up paving on the other side, Deal said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be reached via email at cschweizer@columbiabasinherald.com.